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No Substitute for Murder (Subbing isn't for Sissies #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  302 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
(If you enjoy this book, check out the sequels, NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MONEY and NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MATURITY)

Divorced from a philandering con man and downsized from her job as a talk radio show producer, Barbara Reed is desperate for money. She’s got a mortgage, a college loan, an aging car, and a ten-pound dog named Cheese Puff.

With her unemployment checks running out, she si
Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Published (first published December 10th 2011)
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Melanie Sherman
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I’ll start by admitting I met Carolyn J. Rose when I took a writing class from her. I just finished "No Substitute for Murder" which I think is her best book yet. I don’t want to waste a lot of time giving you a synopsis. You can read other reviews for that. What I will tell you is that this book had me laughing from the first paragraph, right down to the last line. Murder does that to me, I guess, when it is written by Carolyn J. Rose. Yes, there are some tense scenes mixed in with the wild one
Pam Stanek
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I heard someone say she liked this book, but wasn't fond of the quizzes at the first of each chapter. Personally, I liked them; they were hilarious. That may be because I use to be a teacher, but I think anyone might find them amusing, regardless of his/her occupation. Actually, I must say I thought the entire book was a hoot! I'm not one for mysteries, but this one was related with so much humor and description, I found myself giggling all the way through. (I refrained from positive red-pen com ...more
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved this! Review to come...
Carolyn Rose
Dec 12, 2011 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
My latest cozy mystery, just out on Kindle, 12/12/11. Soon to be a paperback.
Sandy Shin
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A heroin with whom you cannot bond, totally improbable scenario, but enough humor to keep you reading
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
Jul 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
** This review, as well as many more, can be found on my blog

Author: Carolyn J Rose
Genre: Mystery
Type: Kindle ebook
First Published: January 2012
First Line: "The problem with getting your life back on track is that there's usually another catastrophe hurtling down the rails to knock you off again."

Synopsis: Barbara Reed has hit a major slump in her life. Recently divorced and out of a job she's hoping that something good will be on the horizon. Unfortunately it
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Carolyn J. Rose’s No Substitute for Murder” book was a joy to read. The writing was concise and stayed on point. This book was a quick read that kept me laughing throughout. This was embarrassing when I was laughing aloud while reading it on my Kindle while riding on my commuter bus going home in the evening. I got many quizzical stares.

Barbara Reed is a substitute teacher who is recovering from a nasty divorce while trying to complete her master’s degree. While substituting, a murder happens at
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Barbara Reed of Reckless River Washington has suffered a series of losses in 2009; her research job on Rick Rivers Radio show, her home to housing market crash after her conniving ex-husband wiped out her savings. To keep her tiny apartment mortgage paid and feed her tiny orange dog Cheese Puff, Barbara signs on to be a substitute teacher. The teaching and administrative staff at one high school are a great group of characters and the murder of Harry Stoddard creates a temp job for Barbara but a ...more
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes humorous mystery
As a former educator, I have to admit that Carolyn Rose's account of subsitute teaching cracked me up, mostly due to her humor. The first character she introduces is Wilhemina Frost, affectionately called Big Chill, who schedules subs for teachers. I could swear I worked with this woman for six years. LOL. And who among us hasn't worked with someone who was "a festering boil on the backside"?

I enjoyed the main character, who admitted to having "a water glass figure" and her narration about subbi
Marja McGraw
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No Substitute for Murder by Carolyn J. Rose kept me guessing and her humor kept me smiling.

When a substitute teacher, Barbara, finds a dead body in one of the classrooms, and the dead man isn't one many will miss, the adventure begins. As a suspect she feels she must search for the killer before he or she comes after her. With a second murder and an attempt on her own life, things become pretty sticky.

The cast in this story was entertaining and lovable. Even her ex-husband and screwy sister held
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Reed really needs a job so she becomes a susbtitute teacher. There she stumbles across the body of another teacher and the police have her on their list of suspects. While dealing with her class of unruly students, she is watching and listening to the other teachers to decide who might be the killer. It seems this murdered teacher has a lot of people who might have wanted him dead, so the list of suspects is long. And she never thinks she will find another body!

This book was filled with
Denise Spicer
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This first book in a series is set in a fictionalized Washington State high school. Lots of witty descriptions, lively banter with teen students and faculty colleagues. The interesting and engaging characters include condo neighbors, cops and of course the AWESOM AND ADORABLE little dog Cheese Puff. Enjoyment is definitely hampered by inclusion into the story of gratuitous sex talk and the obligatory lesbian.

LLona Cunningham
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
There were a couple times when I wondered if I was going to finish it -- dealing with kids in school and obnoxious administrative managers didn't hook me right away. Glad I stayed with it to get into the really funny stuff. Love the characters and their personal parts in the story. Pace got a little slow in a couple places but it picked right back up with scenes I definitely didn't anticipate. Glad I've already bought the next one (No Substitute For Money).
Patricia Gligor
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved "No Substitute for Murder" by Carolyn J. Rose! So much so that I can't wait for tonight when I will sit down to start reading the sequel, "No Substitute for Money." Ms. Rose has an incredible talent for writing an intriguing mystery that will put a smile on your face and occasionally make you laugh out loud. You won't want to miss reading about substitute teacher Barbara Reed and the other fascinating characters. I highly recommend this book!
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was short and very enjoyable. The author expertly delivered a murder mystery with some unexpected twists and turns and enough humor the reader wish for more. The pop quizes at the beginning of each chapter were made me laugh and the answers for them at the end of each chapter were even better. Good read.
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
A witty fun read as Barbara rRed tries to get back on her feet after losing her job and a recent divorce by heading back to the classroom as a substitue teacher. A few farfetched coincidences and more than one unlikely rescue by the handsome cop don't spoil the laughs or the pot. A nice relaxing cozy with a lot of laughs!
Bette Worcester
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I found aspects of this book predictable with too easy humor, then realized it's a "cozy" which by definition doesn't delve deeply into much of anything including character development. The plot moved along nicely. I need to read regular mysteries with Daniel Silva and Louise Penny being favorite authors.
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
First let me say that Carolyn J. Rose is a good friend. Whew that's out of the way.
Friend or not this is a fast fun read. I can still see most of the characters in my head including the incredible Cheese Puff! The pace never seems to lag and the pop quizes at the start of each chapter are hilarious.

If you want a fast, fun, laugh out loud mystery then this is the book for you.
This is a light mystery with a little romance thrown in. The characters are colorful and for anyone who has worked in a school, the descriptions of being a substitute teacher are pretty on target. I got a little tired of the multiple choice quiz at the beginning of each chapter, but that won't keep me from trying another in this series.
Norma Huss
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I enjoyed this mystery quite a bit. There's humor (a list begins each chapter, and ends with the best choice), interesting characters, and a plot line that is quite surprising, plus suspense and danger. All in all, time well spent.
Siobhan Justinger
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was ok

Eh, I bought this book for an easy vacation read but I just couldn't really get into it. I found the writing a little amateurish and lacking for my tastes. Others clearly liked it but it just wasn't for me.
Kay (Brigidsmomma) Compton
This was really good! Having been a sub, I really enjoyed the tongue in cheek sarcasm and the true to life plot for what happens to real people who sub. A great little series, and one I'd highly recommend. Gonna share this one with the DH...
Wendy Cantu
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mystery
If you're a substitute teacher or thing spoiled dogs are the end-all-be-all, you'll probably love this book. If you're not, it's iffy. I couldn't connect with the characters and thought the mystery aspect of the plot was near nonexistent.
Light fun mystery featuring a substitute teacher with her captive cast of thousands - other teachers, friends, and her dog. Short and amusing, it worked because the length allowed me to appreciate the humor.
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved it. Could not predict who was the murderer and enoyed her writing style. As a retired teacher who still substitutes, I appreciate how right on she was and how amusing her story could be, in spite of the genre.
Alannah Davis
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This cozy mystery is an absolute joy to read. I'm not sure I buy all the scenarios, but the author writes main character Barbara with such resonance that I will buy just about anything she's selling. Can't wait to read the next one!
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is a great fast, fun summer read. The main character is a substitute teacher who has a small dog - so I can relate to her! The quizzes about subs at the beginning of every chapter are hilarious (especially to a teacher)!
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
I got this at a very cheap $0.99 from Barnes & Noble. This book was really funny! I really enjoyed it. Then I found out the author lives in Vancouver, WA, where I grew up and where my family still lives. Small world!
May 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, drama
This book was ok, it had an interesting story and decent characters but for some reason it just did not excite me much. I can't say why, there is no complaint about this book. I guess there was just no chemistry between me and the characters. : )
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Cute... A first novel, it was a bit stilted in a few places. Enjoyable, quick read.
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Carolyn J. Rose grew up in New York's Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America, and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, and her interests are reading, gardening, swimming, and ...more
More about Carolyn J. Rose...

Other Books in the Series

Subbing isn't for Sissies (3 books)
  • No Substitute for Money (Subbing isn't for Sissies #2)
  • No Substitute for Maturity (Subbing isn't for Sissies #3)
“What frosts me is my sister’s belief that her views are supreme and what really frosts me is her condescending attitude toward anyone who doesn’t worship at her feet. To my amazement, the league of foot-side worshipers was growing exponentially, making her even more pompous and despotic.” 0 likes
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