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Take the Monkeys and Run (Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,150 Ratings  ·  291 Reviews
Film lover Barbara Marr is a typical suburban mom living the typical suburban life in her sleepy little town of Rustic Woods, Virginia. Typical, that is until she sets out to find the missing link between a bizarre monkey sighting in her yard and the bone chilling middle-of-the-night fright fest at the strangely vacant house next door. When Barb talks her two friends into ...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published August 26th 2010 by Createspace (first published June 15th 2010)
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Jan 17, 2013 mountainmama rated it really liked it
Barbara Marr would have to qualify as the most inept sleuth in the world, but that’s half the charm. As she noses into the goings-on at the house next door, she finds herself involved in stuff that any sane person would avoid. Nice and light – over the top and not to be taken seriously.

A fun silly romp that is very well edited. A perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Oct 31, 2010 Alicia rated it really liked it
First of all, I believe I am required to state that I won this book in a goodreads giveaway contest. I also want to say that I was seriously impressed with how fast this book arrived in the mail. I had expected to wait at least a month for the book, especially since I'm outside the US, but a signed copy was on my doorstep in one week flat! Thanks Ms Cantwell and goodreads!

Now on to our feature presentation, Take the Monkeys and Run. I don't want to mindlessly parrot other reviewers, but truly th
The book started good and was funny, but kind of fizzled for me when the main plot became a cliche I've seen so many times before. I've seen it enough I could pretty much guess what would happen in the book and was spot on for most of it. Kind of ruins the suspense. It's quick read and an okay book overall. I'll probably continue the series, regardless. One glaring error though: (view spoiler) ...more
Dec 17, 2010 Julia rated it it was ok
Barbara Marr is a fairly normal middle aged woman, living in a fairly normal suburban community in Northern Virginia, but when she witnesses some not so normal activity at the house next door, she can’t help her curiosity. The peculiar, abandoned house she has nicknamed “The House of Many Bones” has always been a mystery to her so when on a late night walk around her house she sees and hears bizarre activity she dives head first into her own personal investigation for some answers.

Warnings from
Nov 03, 2014 ☺Trish rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell is a humorous and quite quirky cozy mystery set in fictional Rustic Woods, Virginia. Main character Barbara Marr, a serious film buff and soon-to-be movie reviewer & blogger, is a likeable and realistic 45-year-old stay-at-home mother of three daughters: Callie, Bethany, and Amber. Her husband, Howard, out-of-the-blue, recently announced that he "needs space" and has moved out. Meanwhile, Barb, needing a diversion from the frustrating and depressing ...more
Candace Davidson
Sep 06, 2014 Candace Davidson rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book was really cozytastic! First time I have read her. This book was a free download.
Tammy Stathelson
Take the Monkeys and Run

Reviewed by Tammy Stathelson

Take the Monkeys and Run – A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, a 2010 Amazon Kindle Bestseller and semi-finalist in the Amazon 2009 Breakthrough Novel Contest, is the first book by Karen Cantwell in an ongoing series about a small town Virginia housewife who has a penchant for finding trouble or rather trouble finding her.

Barbara Marr, or Barb as she is affectionately called by friends, normally spends her time at PTA meetings, but lately has stumb
Grace Krispy
Apr 10, 2011 Grace Krispy rated it really liked it
The first in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series, this book by Karen Cantwell is a hoot. Barb is zany, outlandish, and doesn't always make the best choices, so she's a lot of fun to follow. She says and does things we all think about sometimes. She's a typical mom with three girls and a bit -ok, more than a bit- of a movie fetish. Barb sees things in terms of how characters in a movie would react, which adds some nice color commentary. I found this tact to be a clever way to tie the storyline ...more
Debra Martin
Jan 23, 2016 Debra Martin rated it really liked it
I won a copy of this book in a contest.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Cantwell has a distinctive voice that I absolutely loved. Without giving away any spoilers, I found this story to be reminiscent of a humorous, action-adventure movie made back in the nineties especially the circumstances involving the husband and his job.

Take the Monkeys and Run follows the antics of 45 year-old suburban soccer Mom, Barbara Marr. Her life is falling apart. Her husband has decided that he needs some space
Amy Siggelow
Jun 23, 2011 Amy Siggelow rated it really liked it
I won this book from Library Thing's Member Giveaways.

This book was so funny and quirky and I loved it! It was also a very good mystery as well. What more could you ask from a book!

This is the story of a housewife who was outside with her cat in the wee hours of the morning and saw something going on at the house next door. This wouldn't have been odd, except that the house next door had been empty for almost 30 years. She decides to go take a look and ends up getting herself and a friend who co
May 15, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I received a copy of this book for review through the firstreads program*

What a fun book! Barbara Marr is a suburban mom living in Northern Virginia, whose husband has just decided they need to take a "break," when she finds a bunch of monkeys in her backyard. Everything goes downhill for her from there. Marr is a relatable and funny character, and her hijinks are laugh-out-loud funny (without a lot of those cringeworthy "why on earth did you think that was a good idea" scenes you sometimes see
Kellie Reaney
Dec 05, 2012 Kellie Reaney rated it it was ok
I liked the title of this book, and settled down eager to read.

An hour or so later, not impressed. It started out fairly well, introduced believable, relatable characters and a plausible mystery. It all goes downhill from there. Characters do not seem fully developed and the storyline plunges from believable to a tad unrealistic to downright implausible. The novel reaches further and further to explain events, and not in a 'I-didn't-see-that-coming' way, but in a 'that-would-never-happen-in-a-mi
LB Gschwandtner
Aug 02, 2010 LB Gschwandtner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this funny, touching, improbable escapade in the burbs, heroine and movie buff Barbara Marr faces life's mishaps and mysteries with pluck and wit. She's not a gal to be undone by a few setbacks -- her husband has just walked out of their marriage, her mother keeps popping in unannounced, and oh yes, there's a severed head in the abandoned house next door, not to mention monkeys on the loose in the trees. It's enough to make the ordinary soccer mom want to run and hide but not this heroine. An ...more
Aug 28, 2013 Janet rated it liked it
The title of this book caught my interest right away. I would not of readout though if I was not looking for a book with a weapon on it.

It did grab my interest right away though.

Barb, who's husband just left her, stumbles across some strange happens at the house next door.

Yes it has to do with monkeys.

She calls her ex boyfriend, also her husbands ex best friend.

Barb and her friends , Roz and Peggy become the current day Charlie's Angels as they work together to solve this mystery.

I love how Ba
D.B. Henson
Sep 27, 2010 D.B. Henson rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery). Barbara Marr is an average suburban soccer mom with three kids and a husband who has decided he "needs space". When five monkeys show up in the trees in Barbara's back yard, she decides to find out how they got there. When she makes a gruesome discovery in the basement of the vacant house next door, things really get interesting.

Karen Cantwell's novel is one of the best comedic mysteries I've read. Her writing is flawle
Barbara Brink
Apr 25, 2012 Barbara Brink rated it really liked it
Karen Cantwell's "Take the Monkeys and Run" is a fast paced mystery with trigger happy dialogue that has a little to do with monkeys and a lot to do with the laugh-out-loud antics of one suburbanite soccer mom/obsessed movie buff, who finds her imagination running wild when monkeys and a human head are discovered at the house next door. With the help of some neighborhood friends and an old flame from college, she unravels layers of hilarity and insanity, as well as secrets her husband has been k ...more
DelAnne Frazee
Feb 15, 2016 DelAnne Frazee rated it it was amazing
Title: Take The Monkeys and Run - Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Book 1
Author: Karen Cantwell
Published: 6-15-2010
Publisher: Karen Cantwell
Pages: 196
Genre: Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense
Sub Genre: Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths
ISBN: 9781453721094
ASIN: B003SE7O40
Reviewer: DelAnne
Reviewed For: NetGalley

Completely hilarious heroine, Barbara Marr is a movie fan, a mother and alone after her husband destroyed her belief in that hers was a strong, stable and enduring marriage. When a strange van shows up
Donna Blanchard
Hovers somewhere between cozy and hard-boiled as though it can't make up its mind to what genre it belongs

Excellent writing, too much foul language. Witty dialog with great potential but utterly spoiled with juvenile mafia-inspired Italian slang with unexpected F-bombs and derogatory female names. The storyline is riddled with improbable scenarios. How the clever and intricate plot could have began with a mafia thug's desire for kinky shenanigans in an abandoned house in the middle of an idyllic
Randee Baty
This was fun. It won't change your world or give you new insights on life but it's fun. The storyline revolves around a suburban mom who is very curious about strange happenings at what is supposed to be an empty house next door. When she goes to investigate in the middle of the night, she finds monkeys all over her yard. Interesting premise.

Her husband has just left her and she's struggling to deal with that. When the mob starts threatening her and she has to call an old boyfriend for help, th
Jul 02, 2014 Gaele rated it it was amazing
AudioBook Review:
Stars Overall: 5 Narration: 5 Story 4

This is my second encounter with both this author and narrator, and I was utterly delighted with this pairing again.

Take the Monkeys and Run is the first in the Barbara Marr mystery series, and while it has a clever murder mystery at its heart, the hijinks and humor add to the story and present Barbara as a character with a singular ability to function when all around her is chaos.

Recently divorced with no real explanation for the dissolution
Oct 19, 2014 Jagged rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-have, kindle
"Mommy has to poop!"

This is pretty funny, which is probably the only reason that I liked it.

Marr is a movie buff, so there are a lot of references to movies and actors/actresses that I had no idea about. I'm not a movie buff, so I really didn't know what she was referring to. Especially when you're talking hair styles or personalities.
Normally celebrity name drops annoy the shit out of me. I forgave the ones in this book because they were relevant to the character's personality and hobbies. I w
Joanne Roberts
Not a true romance, nor a true who-dunnit, this book nevertheless included a convoluted mystery, adventure, danger, crime, and suspects which will probably appeal to some readers. The mc is dimensional if somewhat annoying, hypocritical and unsympathetic. Though she repeatedly whines about her husband's recent departure and suspected infidelity, she ogles other men and even invites an old boyfriend home with her and her children in the first week of separation. Many plot points are contrived, bu ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Martha rated it really liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. It looks like a fun read & I look forward to reading it when I receive it.

March 2011 - I did really enjoy this book. Love her writing of the main character, especially when she has a scene with her mother. Just hilarious! The plot was a bit over the top, but enjoyable if a bit far-fetched. I will definitely read more of her work.
Toni Osborne
Book 1, in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery

This is a bit of a funny book. At times I had a good laugh at this charming housewife doubling as an inept sleuth. This is a story of a nosy neighbour poking her nose into the goings-on at the house next door and getting involved way over her head at things she knows nothing about.

This is an easy read, written with humour and definitely can’t be taken seriously. Lots of laugh out loud or shaking head moments, this is truly an over the top adventure. Ther
Sarah Paul
Jan 29, 2011 Sarah Paul rated it really liked it
I thought that this was a funny and clever book. It would be a great book for a flight or to read on vacation. There were times that I was very excited to see what would happen next and there were times that I was laughing outloud. I would greatly recommend this book as a fun read.
Liz Terek
Dec 22, 2015 Liz Terek rated it really liked it
Karen Cantwell has created a nosey neighbor who readers will actually appreciate. Barb's character makes no attempt to apologize for her shortcomings. Never perfectly dressed or coifed, she puts her family above all else while still harboring her sense of adventure. It was nice to have a female character who had every chase to stray, martially, but still kept her vows. Barb works because she's 'real'.

The plot is silly at times & definitely has a healthy dose of humor. Sarcasm works when done
Sibel Hodge
Jan 12, 2011 Sibel Hodge rated it it was amazing
Barbara Marr is in the midst of a marital crisis when she stumbles across an even bigger problem in the neighbourhood. This was a fun cozy mystery with light humor that added to the well written storyline. Can't wait for the next in the series.
Lorin Cary
Oct 30, 2014 Lorin Cary rated it liked it
When Howard Marr moves out with little explanation, Barbara plunges into depression. Then there is mysterious activity at the long-facant house nearby in peaceful Rustic Woods (I love the name). Curious about noise, shouting and strange sounds (from the monkeys in her trees), Barbara investigates with a neighbor---only to find a body, or part of it anyway. As she probes, the police, FBI, a former boyfriend and, surprise, the Mafia spin into play. I won't spoil the way this humorous, if implausib ...more
Oct 26, 2014 K.T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery

I loved the character of Barb. There were times when I laughed out loud at her, which was embarrassing reading my Kindle in public. The dynamic of her family was believable, especially the mood swings of her teenage daughter. As a tongue in cheek easy read it was brilliant but the plot was a little fantastical and I’m still not sure about that. As the first in a series it was a definite draw card and I will read some more of this author’s work. I loved the ‘voice’ of Barbara Marr and how she thi
Kelly MacIver
Feb 16, 2013 Kelly MacIver rated it really liked it
Funny read, just what I needed after a couple of heavy and depressing choices...not great literature but entertaining!
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Karen's novel, Take the Monkeys and Run was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (under the original title of Monkeys in My Trees)and has gone on to be a Kindle bestseller on Amazon. She has written three more books in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series: Citizen Insane, Silenced by the Yams, and Saturday Night Cleaver.

When she's not writing, Karen loves gardening
More about Karen Cantwell...

Other Books in the Series

Barbara Marr Murder Mystery (6 books)
  • Citizen Insane (Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #2)
  • Silenced by the Yams (Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #3)
  • Saturday Night Cleaver (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #4)
  • Dead Man Stalking (Barbara Marr Murder #5)
  • Bjorn! on the Fourth of July

Share This Book

“Today was my forty-fifth birthday. Impending old age and a problem marriage were staring me in the face. Not a good place to be. I figured that right now, I had two choices — crawl out of the pit, or wallow and die. To wallow or not to wallow? That was the question. Look at Scarlett O’Hara. Did she cry and whine when Rhett walked out the door not giving a damn? Well, okay, she did. But not for long, I’ll bet. Not Scarlett. Same story here, baby, same story here.” 1 likes
“or dead is coincidental. Copyright 2010 by Karen Fraunfelder Cantwell Chapter” 1 likes
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