Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Musubi Murder (Professor Molly Mysteries, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Musubi Murder (Professor Molly Mysteries, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

The Musubi Murder

(Professor Molly Mysteries #1)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  225 ratings  ·  63 reviews
The Musubi Murder is Hawaii's first campus murder mystery

Newly single and far from home, Professor Molly Barda wants to focus on her job and stay out of trouble until she gets tenure at remote Mahina State University. But her life is upended when fast-food entrepreneur Jimmy Tanaka, founder of Merrie Musubis, pledges a huge donation to Molly's college, and then disappears.
Hardcover, 269 pages
Published August 1st 2015 by Five Star (ME) (first published January 5th 2015)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  225 ratings  ·  63 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Frankie Bow
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cozy mystery fans. Hawaii residents and visitors. Disillusioned academics.
A masterwork, a tour de force, utterly delightful. You should buy it right now. The Musubi Murder, the first of the Molly Barda Mysteries, is available now on Kindle, at, and on iTunes.

The hardcover comes out August 5 at

Next up:

Book 2: Molly Barda and the Cursed Canoe
Book 3: Molly Barda and the Black Thumb
Book 4: Molly Barda and the Invasive Species
Book 5: Molly Barda and the Blessed Event
Book 0: The Defunct Adjunct (prequel)
James Petersen
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hawaii-mystery
I found this book quite by accident. I listen to audiobooks when I'm traveling from place to place on Oahu in my MINI or hanging out at the pool or the beach. I was cruising one day recently and the title jumped right off the monitor and the book went into my various devices.

More than a few writers have tried to place mysteries in Hawaii but few get it right. Frankie Bow has a good ear for the nuances of local-speak. (If you listen carefully, you can tell early on that the book is se
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Musubi Murder by Frankie Bow is the first book in the Professor Molly Barda Mystery series. University donor and fast food entrepreneur Jimmy Tanaka fails to attend a dinner in his honour and it is found that a skull served with the buffet is his. Set on Hawaii's Big Island, the book gives us a nice insight into Hawaiian and small-time University culture. A fun book with quirky and engaging characters and a light mystery with some gruesome moments. I listened to this on Audible and I loved t ...more
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An enjoyable & witty cozy mystery!

I read this book in audio format. This is a great book for audio as it is set in Hawaii and the narrator delivers authentic Hawaiian voices.

I loved this book! This story "The Musubi Murder" Is a fun, quirky murder mystery. It has a great plot, suspense and comedy. I listened to this book in one sitting. I didn't want to turn it off.

Follow along with Molly, a college professor as she solves a murder at a campus in Hawaii. We were listening to this book tod
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a huge fan of mystery murder stories as I usually figure it out before the reveal, but not with this novel. Set in Hawaii I enjoyed the local color and as a retired educator I laughed with comedy of the politics and paperwork of teaching. I listened to the audio version with delight that I could easily distinguish the various character's speech and understand the Hawaiian accents. As it is the first in a series, I will have no hesitation of reading or listening to more of Molly's situati ...more
Janet Scott
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and recommend it to anyone who wants a bit of fun. As the author says herself: this is 'cozy' crime.

The plot meanders along and in fact is secondary to the humour, cultural detail (who knew what musubi and coqui were!!), and highly engaging vernacular. The setting and sub-plots of the small-time university life are true to life,and the characters with their odd-ball relationships are engaging.
I received this audiobook free from the author.
A wonderfully fun mystery. Frankie Bow has produced an entertaining cozy filled with well-developed, zany characters who are, in turn, masterfully interpreted by Nicole Gose for listeners.
Felicity Greene
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! The characters captured me from sentence one. Molly Barda's dry running commentary on everything she encounters, along with the plot's clever twists, kept me delightedly captivated throughout! I couldn't put this marvelous mystery down.

Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
yeah it was good I liked it
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an audio book in return for a honest review. Here it is
I liked the lady who narrated it alot.It was a cute story, funny too. I would read more of her books.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
nice one..i really liked the book
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: author-provided
The Musubi Murder is the first in a great new series of mysteries by Frankie Bow, the ‘Molly Barda Mysteries’. I listened to the audio book narrated by Nicole Gose, whose energy and delightful voice inflections and ability to change to reflect each person’s voice kept the attention of this reader and brought the story to life.
The characters are witty and fun, especially Molly and her best friend Emma Nakamura. Of all the characters, I most enjoyed Dr. Molly Barda, teacher at the College of Comme
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
My Review
Frankie Bows' first Professor Molly Barda Mystery provides a good platform for the introduction of both the setting and the characters of her new series.

I enjoyed the setting, a university campus which, due to financial restraints has a deteriorating infrastructure and decor. The academic staff have also suffered the indignity and frustration of losing all authority over students. Heaven forbid a student be upset, offended or reprimanded lest they should leave, taking their uni fees wit
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a pretty good book in what promises to be a fantastic mysteries series. The setting and university and island life depicted was spot on. The reader follows Molly and her best friend Emma Nakamura as they maneuver through university life in a school that is in a serious funding shortage as well as through their search for answers to why Jimmy Tanaka, a less than ethical businessman who has donated in a big way to the College of Commerce, fails to show up for a breakfast in his honor, and ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In The Musubi Murder we meet Molly Barda, and her friends, Emma Nakamura and Patrick Flanagan. They are college professors in Mahina, Hawaii. The College of Commerce has budget issues and is literally falling apart around them. I am reading this book just after the Governor of my fine state of Wisconsin has cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of out college system. I hope and pray it doesn’t end of like the college in this story. Jimmy Tanaka, founder of Merrie Musubis, an
Diane Hernandez
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this new series! It's set on a Hawaiian public college campus. The main characters, Molly and Emma, are sarcastic and laugh-out-loud funny.

Molly has a PhD in literature but is trying to get tenure as a College of Commerce instructor. There are many thought-provoking discussions about word choice. For example, is it decapitated head or disembodied head? There are asides about how the human body tastes like pork and which way you should squeeze through a crowded theater to your seats--faci
F.P. Dyme
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
I super enjoyed reading this book! The characters were fun and engaging and just the right amount of quirky. An overworked, underpaid protagonist who claims a busybody and an anarchist as her best friends. Not to mention a yoga ball for an office chair (budget cuts), an oven as extra shoe storage, and the realistic treacherousness of the education system (or really any job at all). Throw in a disembodied head and a bit of extremely practical
John Depillis
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This cosy mystery moves smoothly and is populated with distinct characters who are fun to know. Te reader gets to know the characters. There is more than just a good mystery story here. Another bonus is that the depiction of academia, with all its foibles, rings absolutely true.
L. De
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So much fun to read. Molly Barda and her close friends/colleagues Pat and Emma are unique, likeable and real. The writing is amusing - sometimes laugh out loud funny - without being self-conscious. Very satisfying read, highly recommended.
Alaina Maxam
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kathy Heare Watts
Mystery, suspense, and mayhem with a great cast of characters.

I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it to my local library.
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a book set in a college town of Mahina, Hawaii. I sure hope the stuff that happened here does not go on where my girls are going to college. There is murder, cheating, and the students don't get held accountable for the wrongs they do.What would you do for your children? Do we complain when they are got cheating? want them to have second chances. Where do we stop fixing things for them? What is best?There is plenty of drama, romance, mystery and characters that I like In Musubi Murder. T ...more
Leslie Karst
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It takes a lot for me to even crack a smile while reading, but Frankie Bow’s wry and witty writing in her debut mystery, The Musubi Murder, had me laughing out loud on virtually every page.

Molly Barda, recently arrived in Hawaii to teach at Mahina State University’s College of Commerce, is just settling in to her new job when her life is thrown into turmoil. Local fast-food mogul, Jimmy Tanaka, who had been invited to speak at her department, has gone missing, and Molly reluctantly finds hersel
Matthew Galloway
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, mystery
I enjoyed this audiobook immensely! The story and characters were engaging and the reader was perfect. I can't wait for the next one to come out.

I almost didn't need the mystery plotline at all, since I enjoyed Barda, her colleagues, and the satire of academic life (which I think non-academics can also relate to with corporate politics and such). The work politics part rather reminded me of Connie Willis' "Bellwether." The mystery, itself, was revealed slowly, but this was good because Barda isn
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: wom-2015, arc, 2015-reads
This was a fun, light mystery. I enjoyed the characters of Molly, Emma and Pat and their struggles with the Student Retention Office at their university. There is a light romance that did not detract from the murder investigation. I thought the ending was a bit abrupt and the confession of the murder was obtained too easily. The narrator on the audiobook was somewhat irritating although I appreciated her use of Hawaiian accents.

I was given a free copy of the audiobook by the author.
Tracey Lampley
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author’s characterization was great, and the plot was superb. The author placed a special emphasis on setting, which knitted everything together nicely. The author thrusts the reader into the action and never stops. It was a four-star read.
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this fun cozy mystery.
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun, quick read with a beautiful setting. Plenty of humor amidst the murder mystery. Recommend for mystery lovers.

*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
When in the Sandwich Islands, one ought properly read a murder mystery set in Hawaii; there might even be a law about that. I chose Frankie Bow's "The Musubi Murder" to begin this vacation. Frankie Bow's true name is Emmeline de Pillis. De Pillis is Professor of Management in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The protagonist of her mystery novel is Dr. Molly Barda, an untenured professor of business communication at the fictional Mahina State University ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I started out really liking the main character, Professor Molly Barda. Her difficulties with the administration at her college and various fellow colleagues were very witty and fairly accurate. Her friends, on the other hand, were mooches and, though handy in some aspects, especially at the climax, need some more development to be likeable characters.

My biggest complaint with the book was that it was missing a whole chapter. Chapter 23 was a total repeat of chapter 22 and, I fear, there were so
« previous 1 3 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Die Buying (A Mall Cop Mystery, #1)
  • Read Herring Hunt (Mystery Bookshop, #2)
  • A Composition in Murder (A Cherry Tucker Mystery #6)
  • Frames (Valentino, #1)
  • Palmetto Poison (Caroline Slade Mystery Series, #3)
  • Clouds in My Coffee (The Country Club Murders #3)
  • Mardi Gras Murder (Cajun Country Mystery, #4)
  • Memento Mori (Medicus Investigation #8)
  • Whack Job (An Elliott Lisbon Mystery, #2)
  • The Herring Seller's Apprentice (Elsie and Elthelred #1)
  • Dog Dish of Doom (An Agent to the Paws Mystery #1)
  • Picked Off  (A Brie Hooker Mystery #2)
  • Double Up (Davis Way Crime Caper, #6)
  • She Shall Have Murder (Jane and Dagobert Brown #1)
  • The Perfect Coed (Oak Grove Mysteries #1)
  • Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection
  • A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair Book 3)
  • Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction (Goose Pimple Junction #1)
See similar books…
Like Molly Barda, Frankie Bow teaches at a public university. Unlike her protagonist, she is blessed with delightful students, sane colleagues, a loving family, and a perfectly nice office chair. She believes that if life isn’t fair, at least it can be entertaining. Her experience with academic publishing has taught her to take nothing personally.

Other books in the series

Professor Molly Mysteries (6 books)
  • The Cursed Canoe (Professor Molly Mysteries, #2)
  • The Black Thumb (Professor Molly Mysteries, #3)
  • The Invasive Species (Professor Molly Mysteries, #4)
  • The Blessed Event (Professor Molly Mysteries, #5)
  • Mother's Day (Professor Molly Mysteries, #6)
“Molly. I have an opportunity for you.”
“An opportunity?” I repeated, without enthusiasm. Oh, good. Next comes the part where he tells me to be a “team player” and then dumps some tedious task on me.
“It’s a chance for you to show that you can be a team player,” Bill Vogel said.”
“I couldn’t bring myself to call him either “Bill,” which would signal friendly familiarity, or “Doctor Vogel,” which would imply respect.” 1 likes
More quotes…