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A Real Basket Case (Claire Hanover, Gift Basket Designer #1)

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  311 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews

Feeling neglected by her workaholic husband, forty-something gift basket maker Claire Hanover joins an aerobics class. In a moment of weakness, Claire agrees to let charming aerobics instructor Enrique come to her house to give her a massage. She realizes she has made a deadly mistake when Enrique is shot and killed in her bedroom and her husband Roger is arrested for the

Hardcover, 269 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Five Star (ME)
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Richard Derus
Apr 09, 2012 Richard Derus rated it liked it
Rating: 3* of five

The Book Report: Mrs. Roger Hanover hasn't seen the love-light in her husband's eyes in ten years. Kids in college, money in bank, stupid expensive car she didn't want in garage of stupid expensive house she didn't want, and...not much else, just a home-based gift-basket-making business that she's run ragged by (thank goodness, something to do!). Her best friend, divorcée Ellen, leads her into the path of temptation by introducing her to hawt yoga instructor Enrique. That sets
Feb 13, 2009 Jen rated it liked it
Real Basket Case is Beth Groundwater's debut novel. In this Agatha-nominated cozy mystery, Claire Hanover fights to prove her husband Roger is innocent of murdering Claire's fitness instructor, Enrique.

Roger has been spending far more hours with his job than with his wife, so when Claire's friend Ellen buys her a massage with Enrique, she reluctantly agrees. However, when Enrique is shot in the midst of this massage and Ellen looks up to see Roger standing in the doorway with the murder weapon
Feb 16, 2009 Colleen rated it really liked it
This was a very good book. Very fast-paced and kept me guessing. My mom recommended it to me based on the recommendation from a favorite author of ours (Maggie Sefton). I really enjoyed it.
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Nov 17, 2015 Carla Johnson-Hicks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
This is the first book in the Claire Hanover series and I am looking forward to the rest of them. In this book, Claire and her husband Roger are having difficulties. Roger has become a workaholic trying to get ahead. Claire is lonely (her children are grown and gone) and she wants her husband to cut back on work and rekindle the romance they had years ago. When her friend Ellen invites her to attend aerobics classes with her, Claire agrees. The instructor, Enrique, is a handsome gigolo who tries ...more
Nov 29, 2012 Christy rated it really liked it
Thanks to Beth Groundwater, I won this really cozy mystery! I enjoyed reading about Claire Hanover's fight for justice when her husband is accused of a crime she knows he could not commit. Claire is an empty nester who runs her own basket making business in her spare time. Her husband is so caught up in his job that he doesn't notice that Claire is feeling a bit neglected.

Claire's friend Ellen convinces her that she needs a little fun and gets her to join an aerobics class. Unbeknownst to Claire
Sep 18, 2014 ☺Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
I really enjoyed reading A Real Basket Case by Beth Groundwater. It was a light, quick read that was laced with humor. I also enjoyed the fact that I could identify with where Claire finds herself in her middle-age - with an empty nest and often at loose ends.
I especially liked the twists and turns the story took. Unlike many other reviewers, I hadn't guessed "whodunit" early in the story. I truly appreciated the fact that a couple of the characters that I had truly disliked were making sincere
Jun 07, 2008 Patty rated it really liked it
This is a fun first novel. The mystery fooled me to the end, actually led me exactly where the author wanted me to be! There were a couple of *almost* TSTL moments (that's "too stupid to live") but she pulled it off because the protagonist was so scared the whole. I enjoyed this mystery and plan to read the next one when it comes out. Recommended.
May 25, 2009 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-mystery
I became aware of this book through Good reads and I enjoy cozy mysteries in between my other reads.

I really liked the heroine in this book as well as somme of the minor characters. The story started out with a bang and kept the pace up right to the end. A very good debut novel and I hope that Beth's following books are as good.
Jul 18, 2009 Terri rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Since I got this book from the library . I thought something real interest about Mystery case.. I really enjoyed reading her book. I am sure I will read more of her books near future.
Martha Cheves
Jan 13, 2009 Martha Cheves rated it it was amazing
I'm almost finished with this really enjoyable book. It's down to 5 suspects and I have no idea which one is guilty.
Jan 16, 2016 LORI CASWELL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Claire Hanover’s nest is empty, her kids are off on their own, and her husband is a workaholic. She has started her own part-time business creating gift baskets but it doesn’t fill her time as much as she would like. She feels neglected by her husband because she comes number two after his rise up the corporate ladder.

She follows the advice of her best friend Ellen to join an aerobics class to get back into shape and meet people. All the women in the class agree their instructor is dreamy and mo
Nov 09, 2012 Kaye rated it it was amazing
Claire Hanover, empty nester, feeling neglected by her workaholic husband, with a part-time job making gift baskets, has way too much time on her hands. Her best friend Ellen talks her into joining her aerobics class, taught by the hunky Enrique. All the women in the class flirt with him, and its rumored that he's had affairs with most of them. Claire makes it clear she's married, but when Ellen pays for a massage by Enrique for Claire, she agrees to that. He insists he has to do it at her house ...more
Sep 04, 2008 Courtney rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of a fast-paced mystery.
Beth Groundwater's debut novel "A Real Basket Case" quickly develops into everyone's worst nightmare of being falsly accused of a crime; especially murder. Claire, a housewife who feels neglected and at loose ends now that her "nest" is empty is tempted by a smooth-talking aerobics instructor at her gym. Her so-called best friends goad her into accepting a coupon for a free massage in her own bedroom, but before she can even lay down her "lover" is shot and her husband is standing there holding ...more
Jun 19, 2009 Sheila rated it really liked it
A Real Basket Case by Beth Groundwater is a really fun book, and just perfect to add to that gift basket for mother, sick friend, empty-nester, or whoever else you feel needs a bit of spice to cheer them up. Just be sure whoever reads it will be inspired to believe in themselves, in the future, and in the value of love and relationships.

Beth’s protagonist, Claire Hanover, is a middle-aged mother of grown-up children, valued confidante of friends whose marriages are breaking up, and loyal wife. B
In this story, you are introduced to Claire Hanover. Claire is a typical middle-class, middle-aged housewife. Married to workaholic Roger, she finds herself lonely & bored now that their children are out of the house. She joins an exercise class with a couple of her friends...taught by the handsome Enrique. He soon flatters her with his attention, and egged on by her well-meaning friend, Ellen, she agrees to a home massage.

Next thing you know, Enrique is dead, and Claire's husband Roger is c
Apr 24, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beth Groundwater has a hit on her hands with the first in the Claire Hanover series! She writes a fast paced, entertaining and suspenseful cozy! Her characters are likeable and fun to read about. I am so looking forward to reading To Hell in a Handbasket (Claire Hanover, Gift Basket Designer, #2) by Beth Groundwater the second book in the series. I have to agree with Maggie Sefton's blurb on the back of this book "A real winner! Don't miss it."

I am so glad that I requested Beth's books at my local public library, as it will be of benefit to the library, the readers,the writer
Mar 28, 2009 Fran rated it it was amazing

The Real Basket Case: By Beth Groundwater

Reviewed By Fran Lewis

What would possess a supposedly happily married woman to cheat on her husband of 26 years? What would possess her to listen to her best friend who tells her to have a fling with her aerobics instructor? Well, it is simple. When your husband of 26 years becomes more immersed in his job and has little or no time for you, things that are not supposed to happen can and do? In this masterfully written murder mystery, Beth Groundwater ca
Sep 19, 2008 Babette rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This is Beth Groundwater's first published mystery and an Agatha Award nominee. I became aware of it because Beth is a member of Goodreads and suggested I read it.
I suppose this novel fits into the mystery sub-genre of 'cozies', not usually my favorite type of mystery but I have read a number of them.
I enjoyed this book - there are some fun secondary characters: the drug lord Leon, his employees Travis and Condoleza, detective Wilson, the cool Brenda.
However, it was rather evident from the sta
A Real Basket Case by Beth Groundwater is a fun cozy with a likable heroine-an empty nester coping with bitter friends, a workaholic husband and a hobby-cum-business of basket weaving that doesn't quite fill her life. When her gym/workout instructor is murdered while giving her a massage in her home and her husband is chief suspect, Claire Hanover has to come to terms with herself, her marriage while tracking down a murderer.

The plot is clever and the characters and their relationships engaging
Kimz Zahour
Aug 20, 2007 Kimz Zahour rated it it was ok
Beth Groundwater is a new novelist and I'll be watching for her next book. She has a nice writing style, good rhythm that flows nicely. I was disappointed to think I predicted the ending by the fourth chapter... I wasn't dead-on but close enough to take the suspense out of it. I also wish her characters were a little more likeable. Our main character Claire, was completely passive, lacked confidence and was apologetic about everything... not someone I'd care to know or hang around with. She did ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-reads
A Real Basket Case is actually the second book that I have read by this author and in this series, and I have to say that I did really enjoy this one as much as I did the other one. However this book's story is not exactly what I expected from a cozy with the murder victim is killed in the heroine's bedroom with her husband as murder suspect number one, but the story definitely works and grabs the reader's attention. Claire is well developed in the book, and I liked seeing how she pulled it toge ...more
May 21, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Really enjoyed this book! Claire found herself in a "Desperate Housewives"-like situation when she took advantage of a free massage from hunky fitness instructor Enrique; soon he's slumped forward on top of Claire, in her bed, shot to death, with her husband Roger holding the gun. Easy open and shut murder case? Hardly (in Claire's opinion)! Although the police seem to think they have their man, Claire knows Roger didn't do it and is determined to prove it. Claire gets some advice and encouragem ...more
T.L. Cooper
Jun 01, 2010 T.L. Cooper rated it really liked it
Beth Groundwater introduces Claire Hanover, restless and underappreciated housewife, gift basket maker, and reluctant sleuth, in A Real Basket Case. Hanover’s gullibility drives her to make decisions that put her in danger and sometimes manages to save her. Her devotion to her husband and her motivation of saving her marriage are entirely believable and engaging in Groundwater’s capable hands. Groundwater writes all her characters with dimensions that show frailty, generosity, and the basic “hum ...more
Apr 20, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad I finally got to read this one. Good story line. Great twists. Really enjoyed watching Claire take risks that she would never take normally in order to save her husband and her marriage. Not sure how it is going to make sense for her to be involved in other investigations in the follow-ups, but looking forward to reading To Hell in a Handbasket and the new one due out in November. Brava! Would definitely recommend to anyone who likes cozy mysteries.
What a good first book! The plot is fast-paced, the character intriguing and the murder very clever and unexpected. Claire Hanover has a small gift basket business but for the most part feels lonely and unhappy. Her husband is a workaholic with no time for her and her kids are grown and on their own. Her divorced friend Ellen urges Claire to have an affair and things go very badly as she toys with the idea and meets with the personal trainer from the gym for a massage. Mix in old friends, drugs ...more
The reason I picked up this book was to get a head start on a reading challenge for 2015, which suggested I read a book set in my home town. It was really cool to see which images I imagined and which were real places I filled in with real memories. Being set in my hometown also had some draw backs though. For instance, the characters eat out a lot, and they always go to the ritziest places in town! I get that they are supposed to be wealthy, but it didn't feel real to me. I just can't imagine h ...more
Kristen Barr
Apr 03, 2014 Kristen Barr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book by its Colorado Springs setting. It's a town I once lived in and would live still if I had a chance. The book is a quick read and introduces a gutsy gift basket designer who finds herself in a situation that would make anyone a basket case. The plot is compelling, has interesting twists and turns, and provided me with a much-needed Colorado Springs fix. Now to dive into the rest of the series.
Feb 20, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed "A Real Basket Case." Claire is such an interesting character and I liked her from the start. She's an empty-nester (been there); she's loyal to her family and finds strengths she never knew she had in this first of a series by Beth Groundwater. I can't wait to see what she does next. A very well-written mystery with quite a few surprises. I highly recommend it.
Jan 30, 2011 Paula rated it really liked it
I thought this was quite a fun and light read. Claire makes a lot of mistakes trying to help her husband and gets into some very bizarre and frightening situations but she is an endearing character. It makes it even more fun reading about a place where I live and know where Claire is. A very fun read and I look forward to more.
Tricia Douglas
Nov 13, 2011 Tricia Douglas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This is Beth's first cozy mystery of her claire Hanover series. Great story line kept me turning pages. Characters are strong. Waiting for more of her stories!
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I write two mystery series, the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner. The first book in my Claire Hanover series, A REAL BASKET CASE, was released in hardcover in 2007 and re-released in trade paperback and ebook in November, 2011. It finaled for the 2007 Best First Novel Agatha Award. The second b ...more
More about Beth Groundwater...

Other Books in the Series

Claire Hanover, Gift Basket Designer (3 books)
  • To Hell in a Handbasket (Claire Hanover, Gift Basket Designer, #2)
  • A Basket of Trouble (Claire Hanover, Gift Basket Designer, #3)

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