Murder at the PTA by Laura Alden
First in a projected series, Murder at the PTA has believable characters and situations and a truly surprise ending. The story is set in upstate Wisconsin with many characters including the deceased principal very involved in sports. Anyone who has seen the famous cheese heads on sports TBV knows how critical the rivalries are. I was taken by the comparison of PTA members, and Board of Education members. Beth Kennedy, new divorced mother of two small children and owner of a children’s bookstore, finds herself involved in solving the murder of an unpopular elementary school principal. Even after the principal is dead, Alden succeeds in rounding out the woman’s character through interaction with other people and disillusioned relatives. Beth is further hampered by an almost obnoxiously pushy friend who embroils her in dangerous situations through her mainly thoughtless blog. Checking on details in northern Wisconsin requires a short six hour drive which thankfully happens before the snow falls. Beth comes to life in her deep connection to her children including giving in to the request for a dog, her interest in a new man, and her ideas for making the children’s school even better.
This book was easy to read although solving the mystery was not that easy. Modern technology played an important part in the detective work which was quite interesting. This book felt very modern day.
Laura Alden graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BS in science. She spent 25 years surveying and engineering. Those talents came into play in not only the proposed new construction of a school in the mystery but also some of the clues. Two more books in the series have been published on in 2011 and another scheduled for a July 2012 publishing. A fourth book is in the works. I will definitely read more.