Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Review: Back to School Murder

Back to School Murder by Leslie Meier

My rating:  4.5 Stars

In this fourth book in the Lucy Stone Mystery series, Lucy, a mom of four, has temporarily been working at the newspaper office. In so doing, she was one of the first to hear of something terrible happening at the local elementary school, where her second-grader, Sarah, attends. She rushes to the school and all but one student had gotten out safely. When it is realized that one student is missing, Carol Crane, assistant principal rushes in and saves the child. Shortly afterwards, when someone is murdered, Lucy cannot help herself and begins investigating as only she can.

As has been the case in the previous books in this successful and engaging series, Lucy reprises her role as an amateur detective, with her work at the newspaper office opening a few more doors for her. I have said this once, and will say it again, I really love Lucy. She is a great sleuth and has the respect of those in her life, giving her the opportunity to get to the bottom of things when it comes to finding out the truth.

Back to School Murder was a great read. There were some excellent twists and turns in this terrific read. We learn more about facets of Lucy's personality as she copes with changing experiences, as she has experienced quite a bit of growth in this fourth book in the series. And, just when I thought I knew who the culprit was, I was truly shocked. I experienced similar shock more than once in this book. When it came to the conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised. Good play by the author, Leslie Meier.

These books are quick and fun to read. Valentine Murder is next on tap, and I am definitely looking forward to it. I have also downloaded this series through book eight.


I started writing in the late ‘80s when I was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College. I wanted to become certified to teach high school English and one of the required courses was Writing and the Teaching of Writing. My professor suggested that one of the papers I wrote for that course was good enough to be published and I sent it off to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s Department of First Stories. I got $100 for the story and I’ve been writing ever since. The teaching, however, didn’t work out.

My books draw heavily on my experience as a mother of three and my work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers on Cape Cod. My heroine, Lucy Stone, is a reporter in the fictional town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, where she lives in an old farmhouse (quite similar to mine on Cape Cod!) with her restoration carpenter husband Bill and four children. As the series has progressed the kids have grown older, roughly paralleling my own family. We seem to have reached a point beyond which Lucy cannot age–my editor seems to want her to remain forty-something forever, though I have to admit I personally am dying to write “Menopause is Murder!”

I usually write one Lucy Stone mystery every year and as you can tell, my editor likes me to feature the holidays in my books. Of course Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and my newest mystery “Eggnog Murder,” is included in an anthology with two other Christmas novellas by Barbara Ross and Lee Hollis. I’ve long been a fan of the classic English country house mystery, and was a faithful watcher of “Downton Abbey,” so I couldn’t resist trying to write one. I think I succeeded rather well, if I do say so myself, with “British Manor Murder,” which came out in October, 2016.

My books are classified as “cozies” but a good friend insists they are really “comedies of manners” and I do enjoy expressing my view of contemporary American life.

Now that the kids are grown — we have five fabulous grandchildren — my husband and I are enjoying dividing our time between Braintree and Cape Cod, along with our cat, Sylvester.

Find Her:  Goodreads / Twitter / Web 

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