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Beth Kennedy Books In Order

Publication Order of Beth Kennedy Books

Murder at the PTA (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Foul Play at the PTA (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Plotting at the PTA (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Curse of the PTA (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Poison at the PTA (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Beth Kennedy series are a series of cozy mystery novels by the American author Laura Alden, best known for her versatile and unique cozies. The debut novel in the Beth Kennedy series was the 2010 published “Murder at the PTA” that both critics and fans agreed was one of her most spectacular of works. The novel would go on to spawn four more titles in the series as the author published a novel each year until 2014. Just like in her Bookmobile Cat Mystery Series, Alden writes some insanely mysterious and suspenseful story lines that include powerful, likable, and highly memorable characters. The lead character in the series is Beth Kennedy, the titular character,who is a single mother who runs a children’s bookstore in the small town of Rynwood, Wisconsin. Together with her best friend the irksome and sometimes humorous Marina, the two friends solve a variety of murder mysteries in their small town settings. Beth also happens to be the PTA chair in her children’s school and this does not make her job any easier. She has to deal with running her business, being a single mother, romantic interests, and amateur sleuthing that her friend Marina always convinces her to take up. The novels in the series are lighthearted mysteries with a lot of appeal. Coupled with a somewhat reserved and shy lead character and a range of other interesting characters, they are delightful reads for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Beth Kennedy is a woman who wears many hats. From President of the PTA, to bookstore owner, to police consultant, to amateur sleuth, Beth seems to take it all in her stride. She seems quite an oddball for the ordinary small town woman, who would for the most part only be concerned with her family. Not for Beth who has the habit of stumbling upon dead bodies and an uncanny ability to dig and uncover some of the most inane of information to solve murder mysteries. What makes the novels so enchanting is that the characters have the same kind of shared joys and common struggles you would expect to find in everyday people’s lives. Set in Rynwood, Wisconsin, the characters have the usual squabbles, true friendships, and struggles with family and romance that you would expect in any small town setting. Nonetheless, despite their difficulties and intermittent disagreements, they will always come together when one of them is in need. Beth the lead character is a single mother who starts out separated and finally divorced from her husband. As a single mother, her children experience all the developmental issues and troubles you would expect of children their age. But given her predicament as a single parent she has to juggle parenting, with her professional life and amateur sleuthing, which often feels overwhelming, though she takes it all in her stride. Despite all her commitments, she is too curious for her own good, which often leads her to be convinced by her friend Marina to take up a range of murder mysteries in her community.

What makes these cozies such excellent reads is their realistic portrayal of small town settings and their characters. We all have a senior such as Flossie that we adore to bits, another such as Auntie May who needs our care, and a best friend like Marina that we love to hate. We all shop at the local bookstore with a lovely proprietor offering helpful recommendations, and we all have the troublemakers like Claudia. However, even with their everydayness, the novels are very intriguing with their small town problems such as PTA squabbles and unrequited love interspersed with murder mysteries. Thankfully, Beth has the skill and patience to chase down and investigate clues to help solve some of the most intricate of murder mysteries. Besides the lead character, the characters in the series while seemingly mundane have realistic troubles that include dealing with exes, raising children, and financial troubles. The author creates a mild level of suspense in the series of novels by making some of the murder mysteries threaten Beth’s business or endanger some of her most beloved of friends or family. In fast-paced whodunit novels, Alden keeps the suspense very well as she throws in several red herrings and keeps the real suspect under wraps until the very end, when she makes the big reveal.

“Murder at the PTA” is the well-written and absorbing first story in the Beth Kennedy series of novels by Laura Alden. Beth Kennedy is a bookstore owner, and single mother of two children who is happy with her life in the small town of Rynwood, Wisconsin. Her life gets a little more interesting when she accepts the challenge from her best friend Marina to run for PTA secretary. She ends up winning only to find that the post is a hotbed of conflict and dissent. It gets even more interesting, when she gets a call from Marina with the gloomy message that the school principal Agnes Mephisto had been the victim of a brutal murder. The principal had rubbed too many people in the local PTA the wrong way, and hence the list of suspects with some real motivation was likely to be long. Thanks to WisconSins, the town’s leading gossip blog, rumors and theories of just who may be responsible are running rife. Too involved in the PTA to stand aside, Beth digs into the case and starts investigating the dead principal’s life without much regard for the consequences.

“Foul Play at the PTA” is the fabulous second novel in the Beth Kennedy series of novels featuring Beth Kennedy, she of the Children’s Bookshelf. The holidays are coming up real fast but Beth has bigger problems as she has to fire one of her employees who is more interested in spending time with her grandson than working. Yvonne her replacement is a former jailbird that had gotten off due to lack of evidence in a murder case. Given that she loves children and is a great help in getting all the books stocked before the holiday rush, Beth thinks she is a godsend. Meanwhile, the crime level is up in her small town, which causes some consternation in the tight knit community. Sam Helmsletter one of the town’s most beloved of persons is found murdered by strangling in his vehicle just after coming from a PTA meeting. The new PTA president convinces everyone that something is off about Beth’s new employee. She organizes a very successful boycott of Beth’s bookstore, which she will only call off if Kennedy fires Yvonne. With her business on the line, she needs to find the killer and save Yvonne’s reputation and her own before it destroys her business.

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