No Substitute for Murder (Subbing isn't for Sissies #1)by Published 1 Jan
|No Substitute for Murder (Subbing isn't for Sissies #1).pdf|
(If you enjoy this book, check out the sequels, NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MONEY and NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MATURITY)
Divorced from a philandering con man and downsized from her job as a talk radio show producer, Barbara Reed is desperate for money. She’s got a mortgage, a college loan, an aging car, and a ten-pound dog named Cheese Puff.
With her unemployment checks running out, she signs on as a high school substitute teacher and learns what stress is all about. When she finds history teacher Henry Stoddard strangled with his own outdated tie, her stress level soars into the red zone. Then she’s assigned to cover his classes.
Stoddard was a bully and a blackmailer. The list of suspects is a long one, and police put Barb at the top. When she discovers a second body, the noose of circumstantial evidence tightens.
With help from the showgirl widow of a reputed mobster, a trash-scavenging derelict, and members of the Cheese Puff Care and Comfort Committee, Barb struggles to keep a grip on her job, her sanity, and her freedom.
Notice: This mystery contains no vampires, werewolves, zombies, or space aliens. It was not tested on laboratory animals. It makes no claims to political correctness. Characters may not be fully clothed at all times.
"No Substitute for Murder (Subbing isn't for Sissies #1)" Reviews
Loved this! Review to come...
A heroin with whom you cannot bond, totally improbable scenario, but enough humor to keep you reading
Carolyn J. Rose’s No Substitute for Murder” book was a joy to read. The writing was concise and stayed on point. This book was a quick read that kept me laughing throughout. This was embarrassing when I was laughing aloud while reading it on my Kindle while riding on my commuter bus going home in the evening. I got many quizzical stares.
Barbara Reed is a substitute teacher who is recovering from a nasty divorce while trying to complete her master’s degree. While substituting, a murder happens at her school. The character I liked the most was Barbara’s dog, Cheese Puff. He is a hoot and is very much pampered by members in the community. I would love to have a dog like Cheese Puff.
The one con I have is that the quizzes at the beginning and ending drove me crazy. Maybe this is because it reminded me being in school.
If you like a funny cozy mystery, I highly recommend this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
** This review, as well as many more, can be found on my blog www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot.com
Author: Carolyn J Rose
Type: Kindle ebook
First Published: January 2012
First Line: "The problem with getting your life back on track is that there's usually another catastrophe hurtling down the rails to knock you off again."
Synopsis: Barbara Reed has hit a major slump in her life. Recently divorced and out of a job she's hoping that something good will be on the horizon. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like Barbara's life is on an upward swing yet. Her con-man/philandering ex-husband has decided to move into the same apartment complex and her unemployment cheques are about to run out. Desperate to make some money to make ends meet she decides to take a job as a substitute teacher at the local high school.
Barbara is worried about dealing with hundreds of teenagers each day but that is the least of her problems. Her stress level skyrockets when she finds the stodgy old history teacher, Henry Stoddard, strangled in his classroom. Henry was a mean spirited old curmudgeon who had blackmail material on most of the staff. Unfortunately, since Barbara was the person to find the body people assume the worst of the new supply teacher. Barbara vows to clear her name but with the police suspicious of her already Barbara needs to work fast.
My Thoughts: This was one of those books that received very favourable reviews in the Kindle store so I took a chance and bought it eager to find a new mystery writer/series. Unfortunately I disagree with the numerous 5 star ratings and, quite honestly, I'm confused by them. In my humble opinion, this book was not at a 5 star level for various reasons.
First of all, if the dog in the book has a huge roll and more of a personality than the human characters you know you're in trouble. Cheese Puff the dog got a lot of page time in this book. While he may be cute he should have been off on the sidelines more so the mystery could be showcased. I think the author was going for cutsie/quirky but I was hoping for a lot more suspense and less cutsie canine.
The other characters, with the exception of quirky neighbour Mrs Ballentyne, were all one-dimensional and very blaw. No one really stood out and they all started to blend together. This was proven when I kept getting various teachers that Barbara works with mixed up.
Mrs Ballentyne, while more of a well-rounded character, still wasn't as interesting as she could have been. Her nefarious past and connections were hinted at but not used to benefit the story as much as I would have hoped or expected.
But I think it's Barbara's relationship with her sister that bothered me the most. I find it very off putting when a main character has the backbone of a squished slug. She's the family doormat and allows her sister to steam roll over her. I just don't like reading about someone taking verbal abuse/bullying and not standing up for themselves. It just doesn't appeal to me. Also, the sister didn't add anything to the overall storyline so I'm not sure why she had to be added.
As for the mystery part of the story? It was very slow and never really felt like it had any oomph from the get go. The suspense was nonexistent since there were no cool twists or shockers thrown in to shake things up. Even the conclusion of the mystery wasn't a surprise. Not the sign of a good mystery.
Finally, at the beginning of each chapter there was a quiz about substitute teaching. Perhaps if I was a substitute teacher I'd appreciate those quizzes but after the first few chapters they just got annoying and I skipped them.
Unfortunately this mystery didn't pan out as well as I had hoped. The writing style was decent but the suspense and memorable characters just weren't there.
My Rating: 1.5/5 stars
Barbara Reed of Reckless River Washington has suffered a series of losses in 2009; her research job on Rick Rivers Radio show, her home to housing market crash after her conniving ex-husband wiped out her savings. To keep her tiny apartment mortgage paid and feed her tiny orange dog Cheese Puff, Barbara signs on to be a substitute teacher. The teaching and administrative staff at one high school are a great group of characters and the murder of Harry Stoddard creates a temp job for Barbara but also puts her on the suspect list. When a second body floating in the pier near Barb's condo turns out to be that school's assistant principal, homicide detective Charles Atwell is convinced Barbara's involvement is more than a coincidence. Three books in the series (so far) have all been a good reading experience.