After a rocky start at Thomas Jefferson High School in Pinewood, Colorado, Emma Lovett is finally settling in. She and her best friend, Leslie Parker, are happy not to be stumbling over corpses, but the idyllic live is not long lasting, for soon they find the body of a student in the gym, an apparent overdose, which is soon discovered to be ‘murder most foul.’
Emma and Leslie, of course, feel obliged to investigate—after all, they did solve t he case of the janitor’s murder. This time, though, the stakes are higher. They have to deal with mysterious newcomers, a fundamentalist preacher with a snake fetish and a deadly secret, and a bit of jealousy from Emma’s newfound(?) love.
Without spoiling it by telling you too much, I’ll just say that Kelley Kaye’s Poison by Punctuation, book two in the Chalkboard Outline series, is every bit as good as book one, and I strongly recommend it. A strong, but sometimes conflicted, female heroine, with an even stronger, and slightly flawed, female sidekick, it moves like a game of dodge ball—things hit you when you least expect them to.
I give this one five stars.
High school can be a traumatic time, but that’s usually for students. But when southern belle, Emma Lovett, after getting a divorce and going back to school to get her teaching degree, at her first job in a Colorado high school, she experiences trauma beyond her wildest imaginings. When she finds Melvin McMannus, the school’s night janitor, with his head bashed in, the seamy doings in the school’s underbelly start crawling into the light, and she finds herself at the epicenter of events that threaten to spiral out of control. With her new bestie, Leslie Parker, another English teacher at the school, she sets out to solve the murder, and in the process gets herself neck-deep in the putrid politics of a small-town school, and even perhaps a bit of romance on the side.
Kelley Kaye’s Death by Diploma is, in a word—well, three words actually—a rollicking read. Generous helpings of humor, a dollop of suspense, and as chaotic a cast of characters as mystery lovers could ever crave. As a cozy mystery fan, especially the excellently crafted British cozies, I have high standards, that many authors just don’t live up to. Kaye, on the other hand, not only met my expectations, she exceeded them.
I received a complimentary review copy of this outstanding book, and am happy to bestow upon it five stars.