Monday, February 17, 2014

Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club

18149636When Clare Ballard sports a new bruise on her right cheek the day after a contentious town meeting, the ladies of the Thursday Morning Breakfast Club suspect her husband Roger of abusing her. That same day Hester Franklin, another breakfast club lady, is called to rescue her grandson Patrick after he is arrested for transporting drugs. Proclaiming his innocence, Patrick threatens that those who set him up will pay. Roger Ballard is high on his list. But it's when Lillie Mae Harris, the club's leader, discovers the body of the local drug dealer on the nearby hiking trail, that the community is upended.

Roger Ballard, the primary suspect, goes missing, and when his body turns up in his own back yard, Clare Ballard confesses to his murder. No one believes she did it, but Clare insists she's guilty and mysteriously refuses to talk to her lawyer, the police, or her family and friends. The Thursday Morning Breakfast Club ladies believe she's protecting someone, and they vow to find out who it is. Charlie Warren, the town's homegrown policeman, using unconventional means, collaborates with the breakfast club ladies to draw out the real criminal.

But danger lurks. Alice Portman, the matriarch of the breakfast club, is struck down in her own yard and is sent to the hospital. Then others in the small community start to disappear-one after the other. As the ladies get closer to the truth, they get closer to the danger. With no time to cry over spilled coffee, they form a plan to capture the true culprits before someone else is murdered.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Liz Stauffer creates havoc in the small town of Mount Penn when a suspected drug dealer is murdered in her novel, Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club. Lillie Mae, a friend of everyone in town, is determined to find unravel this mountain mystery along with the other members of the breakfast club. 

Though every citizen of Mount Penn plays a role, Lillie Mae stands out as the main character. She takes part in the investigation, narrowing down the suspect list. I had a little trouble believing that the police would allow her to aid their investigation, but it made for an interesting twist from the usual murder mystery recipe. Though her age isn't mentioned, Lillie Mae seems to be a middle-aged woman. She loves to visit her neighbors and take part in the town gossip. Even though she may be a gossip-mongrel, Lillie Mae is a good friend, inquisitive, and intelligent. Readers will see her as a grandmother figure, always the perfect hostess and tag-a-long. She is always present for other characters when they need a friend or someone to simply listen. 

The plot of the novel begins with Lillie Mae discovering the dead body of the town's drug dealer and the investigation that follows. When another town member is murdered, the ladies of the Thursday Morning Breakfast Club decide to help find the killer. Their motivation increasing when Lillie Mae's best friend admits to one of the murders. Though the story takes its time in development and the amount of gossip is a bit overwhelming, the plot as a whole is interesting, which is always good in a mystery. Recommended for a nice and easy weekend read. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

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