Bear with me diyhomegoddesses while you read this review about Libby Klein and the first Poppy McAllister book. The book came out a few months ago. I picked it up because of the title. I mean, come on! How many of us think this about our class reunions?
The Gist of the Story
The story is set in Jersey; New Jersey for those of you not in the know. That’s what people in that region call it. At least they used to. It’s about Poppy McAllister, a recent widow who is avoiding life, and her mother-in-law Georgina, who wants control of her son’s widow even after he’s dead. That’s normal, right? She is kind of pushed into going to the reunion by the few friends she had in school. That happens, right?
Poppy is someone I relate to. The gal is big, redheaded, and beautiful (paraphrasing Queen Latifah in Hairspray)! She goes to the reunion, and it’s like she’s back in high school again, with the allegedly cool kids making fun of her. She finds a dead body at the reunion, the body of the most popular girl in school, Barbie. Barbie? Really? Now if that isn’t the name of the queen of the class who pushed everyone around, I don’t know what is.
Amber (!), the local cop and member of the class, is insistent on proving Poppy guilty of murder. Hmm, another popular girl here. Something snaps in Poppy, and she wakes up to fight for her freedom. Yay, Poppy! She spends the book trying to question people, sneaking around, getting into trouble (typical cozy), and generally being a woman who just woke up from a long sleep to find out she has life left in her.
Meanwhile, she meets up with her high school love, a cute Italian coffee shop owner, and is trying to keep her Aunt Ginny from being sent to a nursing home because she’s “too old to be by herself”.
The Review of Libby Klein – Class Reunions Are Murder
The characters are fully developed. You get descriptions, and they seem to fit their names. She must have taken a lot of time to create them. I had trouble finding flat characters. Poppy is tough, yet gentle. Aunt Ginny is a firecracker. Her friends are faithful. Figaro the cat is a drama queen! The popular crowd was shown the way we don’t see them in school; they love each other but are backbiters even amongst themselves. Her characters are unique, fun, and all around real.
The descriptions are pretty good. Libby Klein does not just breeze over them, and does not go overboard either. Most of her setting descriptions are about buildings, you get just a glimpse of the outdoors weather. Well, the bulk of the story is inside, so that’s fine.
The dialogue is snappy. There wasn’t much dialogue that was added fluff. There are lots of sayings in this book that most people have used, but few authors will add. This made the characters seem more real to me. There is attitude in this book that I don’t see in a lot of others. Not that other authors aren’t real. But Libby Klein made her characters the blue collar, Jerseyan people they are. Like Aunt Ginny’s response to the reunion dress. “I need a drink.” Some people may be off-putting by this talk, but I love it.
The story is hilarious. I read it while commuting, and people would stare at me when I laughed out loud! Snide comments, funny innuendos, descriptions.
The clues were there. The red herrings were in abundance. Twists and turns? Absolutely! The way Poppy changed her mind about the killer’s identity is typical cozy fashion. The only thing different from the classic cozy was it was a bit longer than normal.
This gets 4.5 stars! If you like snarky humor, this story is for you. Libby Klein has a unique voice that needs to be heard, read, shared, and enjoyed.
Her next story, Midnight Snacks are Murder comes out the end of July. You can find out more about Libby Klein here.