Class Reunions Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #1)5 Stars

Published January 30th 2018 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

This is a wonderful start to a new series. I loved the themes in this book. Besides having a mystery, there is high school bullying, healthy living and naturopathic healing as well as self-esteem, acceptance and second chances. All this is wrapped up in fun with a lot of laughs along the way.

Poppy McAllister is dreading the 25th reunion of her high school graduating class, in fact, she doesn’t even want to go. Her best friend, Sawyer, talked her into attending along with the other two girls, Kim and Colleen, that were her only friends in high school. Since the death of her husband, Poppy’s life has been falling apart. She has gained a lot of weight, her mother in law is driving her crazy, and her only companion is Figaro the cat. Her dreams of becoming a pastry chef and a mother have vanished and at this point, she has no desire to spend an evening with all the bullies who made her life miserable, and will probably make her feel even worse about herself and her life. When the reunion plays out the way Poppy expected, it is understandable to see her snap. She finally lets loose on Barbie, the leader of the mean girls followed by a physical altercation between Barbie and Sawyer. When Barbie is found dead in front of Poppy’s old locker, by Poppy, she is the main suspect in her death.

Cape May, New Jersey is a fun town. The characters inhabiting the town, especially the older set, are a hoot. Aunt Ginny is one of the funnest characters I have come across in a long time. I hope I have that much energy and wit when I am in my 70s. Poppy is a smart, sarcastic heroine, who is loyal to her true friends and her family (not her husband’s family). She is addicted to food and is a plus-sized woman, which I loved. She ends up with not one, but two males interested in her which is also a nice change, that they do not all go after the skinny women. Even the two women she meets when arrested are wonderfully written and give inspiration to Poppy to make changes to her life. All in all, someone I would love to have as a friend. And of course, the police are out in full force, but with the blinders on so that Poppy has to hand them the evidence to eventually solve the crime. This is a cozy mystery after all. The lead detective is also one of the bullies from high school, so that adds another dimension to the story. I also enjoyed the secondary storyline about the Social Services trying to get Aunt Ginny put in a nursing home because she needed supervision. I did figure out where that plotline was going before the ending and I loved the resolution of it. The story moves quickly and the reveal of the culprit was well done, although not someone I had on my radar. I definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy cozy mysteries, especially those with humour and quirky characters. I am really looking forward to reading the next one in this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions stated are my own.

About the Book (From Goodreads): For fortysomething Poppy McAllister, taking a stroll down memory lane in Cape May, New Jersey, isn’t just awkward—it’s deadly.

Newly widowed and stuck in a middle-aged funk, Poppy has been running on cookies, infomercials, and one-sided chats with her cat for months. There’s no way on earth she’s attending her twenty-five-year class reunion—especially after receiving a very bizarre letter from Barbie, the popular cheerleader who taunted her all through high school. At least, not until Poppy’s best friend practically drags her to the event . . .

Using the dreaded homecoming as an excuse to visit her eccentric Aunt Ginny, Poppy vows to leave Cape May with pride and Spanx intact. Too bad Barbie is still the queen of mean at the reunion. And worse, that her dead body is lying right in front of Poppy’s old locker. Singled out as the killer, it’s up to Poppy to confront her past and clear her name. But between protecting her aunt from disaster and tackling a gluten-free diet, can Poppy crack the case before she’s voted “Most Likely to Die” by the murderer?

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and closeupAbout the Author: Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that forced her to remove gluten from her kitchen and adopt a Paleo Diet. Now her life revolves around coffee and bacon. When she’s not feeling sorry for herself that she can’t eat bread, she writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while travelling.

Twitter: libbykleinbooks