Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]by Julie Mulhern

4.5 Stars

Publisher: With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”

Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way.

Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly-rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased.

Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby and elude the killer—all before her next charity gala committee meeting.

My Review: This is the second installment of the Country Club Murders and Ellison Russell is back solving another murder. These books take place in the 1970s so it is nice that there are no cellphones, ipads etc. to have instant communication. It gives another dimension to the stories.

The story opens with Ellison at a highschool football game to watch her daughter cheer. When she drops her pricey lipstick she bought in Paris, she heads down under the stands to get it back. Instead of finding her lipstick, she stumbles onto the body of a young man who has been stabbed and is dying. His last words to her are “Tell her I love her.” Ellison decides that she will do whatever she can to find this young woman and give her the message. After going in the ambulance with the young man, who turns out to be the son of one of her friends, she arrives home to a group of girls. Grace, her daughter, is having an impromptu sleepover with her friends. Ellison knows them all except one, Donna, the new girl in town. The girls mourn the loss of their friend and classmate, Bobby Lowell. Ellison’s focus is to find the girl Bobby loved, but she uncovers possible suspects along the way. There is the overly infatuated girl, Alice Standish who loves Bobby and thinks he feels the same to the point that she looks obsessed. Then there is her father who hangs out at a bar for cross dressers. There’s also the grieving best friend Jack McCreary and his father John who becomes rude to Ellison whenever she asked about Jack’s friendship with Bobby.

While all this is going on, Grace’s new friend Donna, has problems and secrets of her own. Dirty little secrets that involved her stepfather. When Grace and Donna run away, Ellison does not know what to do. The situation with Donna and her stepfather is handled very well and with extreme discretion. The sexual tension between Ellison and Detective Anarchy Jones, as well as Ellison and lawyer, Hunter Taft creates a dilemma for her and reading her mother’s responses to their moments together is a hoot.

Ellison seems to stumble into situations and dead bodies in extremely interesting ways and is able to solve these crimes in a realistic way. I was not able to figure out the murderer until almost the end of the book, which always makes the story more interesting to me. A great read for cozy mystery readers. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.