Booked 4 Murder
J.C. Eaton     

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Sophie Kimball Mystery
Book: 1

Never judge a book by its cover...

Sophie “Phee” Kimball is not a cop. She’s a divorced, middle-aged mom who works as an account clerk for the police department in a small city in Minnesota. But her retired mother, Harriet Plunkett, is convinced Phee is the only one who can solve the mystery of a cursed book. According to Harriet, four members of her book club have already succumbed to the deadly curse. Harriet insists Phee catch the next plane to her retirement community in Sun City West, Arizona, to investigate.

Is her mother just bored and lonely? She does have a new pet—a long-haired chiweenie (half Chihuahua, half Dachshund)—for company and a host of pals (although that number is admittedly dwindling). Phee is certain that their book club selection isn’t cursed, but is somebody really knocking off the ladies? As Phee starts to uncover dark secrets hidden in plain sight under the blazing Arizona sun, she’ll need to read between the lines before it’s someone else’s final chapter....


Sophie “Phee” Kimball works in the accounting department of the Mankato, Minnesota Police Department. Phee’s mom Harriet Plunkett is a member of a book club in Arizona and is convinced the book they’re reading is cursed. Three members of the book club died within days of each other while reading the book. Even though Phee isn’t a detective, since she works for the police department, Harriet wants her daughter to come to Sun City West and investigate the curse. After a fourth book club member dies, Phee gives in and agrees to travel to the Phoenix suburb to investigate.

Booked 4 Murder is the first book in a new series and I am impressed. This isn’t the first series that features a mystery book club, but it is one of the most fun. Phee is advised by a seasoned detective back in Mankato as she investigates the strange events going on in Sun City West, so there are some elements of a police procedural in the book. She ignores the “curse” aspect of the recent deaths, and sets out to logically and methodically investigate, as she would if she were auditing expenses in her job as an accountant. However, there are many lighthearted moments as Phee deals with her opinionated, but loving, mom and other residents in Harriet’s retirement community. Phee is more grounded than her feisty mom, but doesn’t take herself too seriously as she wonders if she really has what it takes to be an amateur sleuth.

I enjoyed the characters and the situation in this well-written and entertaining book. I found the Sun City West setting to be a good one with a variety of interesting senior citizens as witnesses and potential suspects. Part of the solution was a bit of a let-down, but the author does keep the reader guessing as to the motive and the explanation behind all of the mysteries deaths among the book club members. I think the series kicks off splendidly and would definitely be interested to read more about Phee, especially given some events that occur at the end of the story that perfectly set up Phee’s next adventure.

~ Christine