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Oakwood Mystery #1

The Book Club Murders

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In a charming cozy mystery series debut, Leslie Nagel’s irrepressible small-town heroine finds that her fellow mystery book club members may be taking their Agatha Christie a bit too literally—and murder a bit too lightly.

Charley Carpenter has poured heart and soul into her clothing store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She’ll do anything to make it a success—even join the stuffy Agathas Book Club in order to cultivate customers among Oakwood, Ohio’s wealthy elite.

Although mixing with the most influential women in town has its advantages, Charley finds the endless gossip a high price to pay. But after two women with close ties to the Agathas are brutally murdered, everyone falls under threat—and suspicion. When key evidence indicates that both murders are the work of the same hand, Charley realizes that the killer has arranged each corpse in perfect imitation of crime scenes from the Club’s murder mystery reading list. She uses her membership in the Club to convince Detective Marcus Trenault to use her as an inside informant. Not that he could stop her anyway.

Intelligent, fearless, and every bit as stubborn as Marc is, Charley soon learns the Agathas aren’t the only ones with secrets to protect. Passions explode as she and Marc must race against time to prevent another murder. And if Charley’s not careful, she may find herself becoming the killer’s next plot twist.

301 pages, ebook

First published September 27, 2016

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Leslie Nagel

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 267 reviews
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,038 reviews1,499 followers
September 14, 2016
Charley Carpenter will go to any lengths to further her clothing store business and drum up more sales. She's even joined the stuffy Agathas Book Club group made up of the wealthy elite of their small town of Oakwood, Ohio. Although the company is a bit lacking in the club with only her one good friend in the group she does however enjoy the books so vows to stick around for her store.

When a body is found in the small town though the gossip starts flying around rather quickly. Charley finds herself running into an old family friend Detective Marcus Trenault when she keeps finding herself coming up on details that might help his case. But when Charley finds the murderer may have ties to the Agathas she really begins working with the detectives to help solve the case.

The Book Club Murders was a really nice fast paced sort of crossover between a cozy mystery and a mystery/thriller read. The main character in this story does do some investigating on her own like you would find in a cozy mystery but a lot of the book also involves the police investigation that you would find in a normal thriller.

I would warn that for fans of a cozy mystery this one may cross a few lines for readers that are used to a somewhat more clean read that you find in cozies. There's some language and also a relationship developing in here that I don't often find in those types of stories but for me I found I rather enjoyed this one being a bit of a mix of both types of books.

Overall, 4.5 stars, a bit of a mix of a cozy and thriller read. Great small town setting, characters and story line.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,882 reviews1,627 followers
August 25, 2016
This debut novel is the first in the Oakwood Mystery Series. It's billed as a cozy mystery, but it is much more. A bit cozy in that even though there are bodies falling here and there, nothing too graphic. It's a little romantic suspense in that it is suspenseful and there is definitely romance involved ... again, nothing too graphic.

Charley Carpenter owns the Old Hat Vintage Fashions store. In order to be a success, she even joins the Agathas Book Club in order to perhaps get a few more customers among the rich and snobbish.
When members of the book club start coming up dead ..... police wonder if one of the other members is taking their mystery reading a little too far.

Detective Marcus Trenault is lead investigator. Marcus and Charley have a history ... she had a crush on him way back in school. But it seems like every time they met, they wound up arguing. Today looks no different to either one of them.

Charley has the inside scoop about the other members and Marc is going to have to bite his tongue and use her as an informant. Not that Charley gave him any chance to say No!

But when Charley gets too close, her life may be in danger.

This was an enjoyable read. Charley is stubborn and opinionated, and not afraid to say so. Marc is arrogant in his own right. They say opposites attract ... and in this case, they really do!
All of the suspects ... women who are rich, snobbish, witchy ... are described to a T. Since they all are hiding secrets, it was impossible to guess who dun it.

There is a second book coming out early next year. I will be standing in line to get a copy.

Many thanks to the author / Random House Publishing Group - Alibi / NetGalley who provided a digital copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Profile Image for Monnie.
1,367 reviews755 followers
September 27, 2016
Much as I love to read about grisly murders and psychological drama, every now and again, my head needs a break and I look for something on the lighter side. When I saw the description of this cozy mystery - the first of a series - it sounded great on several levels. As the title suggests, it's centered around books and a group of rather stuffy women who get together to read and discuss mysteries as part of the Agathas Book Club - and as an avid reader of that genre, it couldn't be more perfect. Adding to the appeal is that the book is set in Oakwood, Ohio - a Dayton suburb quite familiar to me for the first 18 years of my life as I grew up on a farm perhaps 45 minutes away. I didn't hesitate to request an advance copy in exchange for an honest review, and I was elated when that request was approved.

And all things considered, it served all its intended purposes. I enjoyed glimpses of places I've been, books I, too, have read, and the respite from head games as the story played out in a somewhat predictable manner (as cozy mysteries are wont to do). The heroine, Charley Carpenter, is a character with whom I could be friends (well, on most days, at least), and certainly one I'll be willing to read more about as the series continues.

Charlie, it seems, owns an antique clothing store; in the hope of boosting sales, she joins the Agathas Book Club even though she has a tough time relating to most of the other members - the "elite" of Oakwood and their boring, one-upwomanship club lunches. She maintains her sanity through close relationships with best friend Frankie, fashion-conscious hairdresser Dmitri, her ailing father and his caretaker, Lawrence (who has "...biceps the size of first graders...") And of course, there's the requisite love-hate-love relationship with gorgeous and single police detective Marc Trenault.

But then, murder happens - and it's someone connected to the book club members. Not long after, another one bites the dust, and clues lead to passages from book club selections and the suspicion that both dirty deeds were done by the same hands. Fingers begin pointing toward another of the club members, so over Marc's objections, Charlie's valuable insights translate to her acceptance on the investigative team. Finally, she even convinces him to let her use her knowledge and skills as an inside-the-club informant in the hope of ferreting out which is the killer. Of course, that puts Charlie squarely in the crosshairs of someone who will do anything - including kill again - to keep from being identified.

In the end, of course, all's well that ends well, and I'm happy to had the opportunity to read it. That said, though, a few things bothered me a titch. First, enough already with the boy names for girls: Charlie? Frankie? Ronnie? Wilson? Jelly (well, I suppose that one could shake out either way). And how on earth does a person officially arrested for murder (which wouldn't happen without that person being taken into custody) get back home with no mention of help from an attorney, no hearing or no bail?

Ah well, I'll never know. I do know that this is the start of a promising series, and I look forward to the next installment.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,056 reviews66 followers
November 20, 2018
One of my Facebook book clubs chose this for the November book, and I was happy because I already had it in my Kindle library. I can't believe I hadn't read it before now--it was so good! Fairly fast-paced, but lots of detail. I didn't want to put it down.

Charley Carpenter had an upscale used clothing shop and had joined an exclusive mystery book club to get to know some of the wealthy women in the area and drop hints for them to shop at her store. When someone started killing women who had a connection to the book club, it was scary. Would the killer stop at that or would they start targeting the actual members? Charley and police detective Marc Trenault had to work with little time on their side when the police chief said he would have to turn the case over to the prosecution. Charley was determined to face down this killer...and hopefully survive.

I really liked all the main characters and how Charley and Marc faced their past differences. Her dad's caregiver Lawrence was such a sweetheart and who wouldn't love crazy Dmitri? He may have been a hair stylist, but he played an awesome role in the showdown. Frankie was fun and crazy, who would liked a BFF like her. I'm definitely planning to read more in this series!
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,377 reviews1,051 followers
September 23, 2017
Mysteries are fun, and cozy mysteries fit the sleuthing mood most of the time when I’m not in the mood for dark/ morbid thrillers or psychological whodunnits who make me feel like my mind has been put through a blender. There are certain cozies I enjoy more than others – and book club or bookish themes are one of those.

Right away The Book Club Murders starts out on a different note compared to some cozies. The book club group doesn’t trust each other with a few exceptions – and the heroine is only involved because of creative marketing for her used clothing store. Some of the characters are downright foul and bitchy, which the character notes since this is a cozy that thankfully doesn’t shy away from colorful language or circumstances.

Speaking of characters, that’s the shining note of this story. Charlie’s friends are fun and make the best supportive characters for this kind of book – loyal but quirky. The suspects are many and it’s hard to pin down the actual culprit since motives remain sketchy and there is a local balding stud who many of the groupies flock to (ewww, yeah didn't get it)

On the downside, while I liked Marc as the cop well enough, the romantic relationship felt false and flighty. The author sometimes shifted to his point of view, which didn’t fit this story. Their relationship was a little too high polished romance type. The emphasis on their relationship made this one half mystery/half romance, not just a mystery book that has a romance as part of the character’s life. Some of the romantic areas were a little sappy.

The second thing that irked me was how unrealistic it is the heroine was so highly praised by the police force, especially Marc and his partner. In most cozies people don't sit in admiration of amateur sleuths. She didn't have a genius IQ and I figured out a lot of what she did - the only question remains, what's with these poor cops and actual detectives? It was unrealistic how much Marc let her in on the investigation too - there are laws forbidding some of that, after all.

Overall a fun mystery that kept losing steam, but I dug the murder angle creativity tied in with books and many of the characters not being fully one-dimensional and typical of run-of-the-mill cozy mysteries.
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,603 reviews55 followers
December 16, 2017
The Book Club Murders is the first book in The Oakwood Mystery Series by Leslie Nagel. Charley Carpenter was a member of the Agatha Christie book club when members of the group started to die. Charley Carpenter and her friend Frankie begun to investigate the murders and caused a headache for Detective Marc Trenault and Paul Brixton. The readers of The Book Club Murders will follow Detective Marc Trenault and Charley Carpenter to see you found the murder first.

I enjoyed reading The Book Club Murders. I loved Leslie Nagle portrayal of her characters especially Charley Carpenter as a modern Miss Marple. Leslie Nagel does a great job of entwining her characters throughout The Book Club Murders. I like Leslie Nagle writing style that makes her readers laugh and cry while reading The Book Club Murders. The Book Club Murders is the first book I have read of Leslie Nagel, and Leslie has ensured that I read the next book in this series The Antique House Murders. I also, enjoy the way Leslie Nagel describes her setting and the plots. The way Leslie Nagel wrote The Book Club Murders, I never guess who the murder was.

Readers of The Book Club Murders will learn about running a small clothing store. Also, law enforcement procedures in Hall County, Georgia, USA.

I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Becky.
410 reviews
December 4, 2018
I've never read anything quite like this book. I wasn't expecting the plot to go the way it did. The language and romance is stronger than a regular cozy but I found it a nice change of pace. There was a little too much detail for my liking which made it start off slow for me. Leslie Nagel is a good author and I plan on reading more of her.

If you don't like strong language, this isn't a book for you. If you can tolerate it, you won't regret it. Author did state it calms down by book 3.
Profile Image for Jody McGrath.
335 reviews52 followers
September 18, 2016
* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Charley Carpenter, owner of a vintage clothing store is desperate for her store to be a success. Her beloved father has incurred multiple strokes and when caring for him was more than she could do, she hired a live-in caretaker, Lawrence. She opened her business two years ago and needs to turn a profit. She decides, with coaxing from her best friend, to join a book club called the Agathas. The Agathas are made up of the towns elite women, therefore, potential customers. To her joy, it is working. To her dismay, most of the women are pretentious snobs. Charley will tough it out though for her bottom line.

When a body is found murdered and staged, Detective Marc Tenault is called in to lead the investigation. Charley and Marc have history, bad history. But she has also harbored a crush on him since high school. When a second body is found and Charley makes the connection that the staged scenes are right out of her book clubs reading list, her and Marc must team up, because it looks like one of the Agatha's is doing more than reading about murder..

I really enjoyed this book. Charley is a great heroine, feisty, stubborn and she won't back down. She was smart but flawed, like any good cozy sleuth should be. I also liked her best friend, Francie. She was spunky and up for anything. I had mixed feelings about Marc. sometimes he was likable and sometimes he was an arrogant jerk. The author tried to explain his bi-polar behavior, but it just didn't sound believable.

The mystery was fantastic. You think you get it figured out, then twist. Then another twist. I kept flipping through suspects and didn't have it completely figured out until reveal. It was great. I love that! And the murder plot made sense and the murders were complicated enough that it wasn't at all vanilla.

I would definitely recommend this book to any cozy mystery readers out there!
Profile Image for Peggy R.
1,012 reviews64 followers
August 3, 2016
This is the first in a new series and debut cozy mystery for Leslie Nagel. I thought this was a terrific book. I was hooked from the first pages and kept turning pages until the very end. The story is well written and has a well crafted plot and mystery. I was kept guessing as to the identity of the killer until the end. I thought the characters were well done. At first I wasn't a fan of Marc's but as the story progressed he grew on me and I liked how the romance between him and Charley developed. The only warning I would give is that there is profanity peppered throughout the dialogue. I know language is something that makes a difference to some readers so if you are offended, this might not be the book for you. I wasn't bothered by it but thought I would just point that out.

A full review will be posted on my blog closer to release date.

I was provided an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my opinion and the thoughts expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Marja Coons-Torn.
105 reviews6 followers
September 17, 2016
I wanted to like this book so much! I loved the title and thought the premise sounded promising. But the more I read, the less I cared. I know others will disagree, and I accept that this book might have just not been my style. But I found that Nagel tends to use a lot of pretty cliched descriptions. I also had difficulty crediting that professional police would involve a local shop owner in the way set forth. Perhaps I will go back to this novel eventually, but for now, I have set it aside.
October 1, 2016
There is much to enjoy about this debut, though I would classify it less as a cozy mystery and more as a romantic suspense. The mystery is extremely well-crafted and kept me guessing right up until the very end. We get the best of both worlds with the amateur sleuth as well as police procedural. The romance – whew – the chemistry is through the roof, and the author does a fantastic job creating a tangible electricity between them. The characters are fun and vivid, and at a certain point you like all of them so much you don’t want the killer to be any of them. And then for a while you like so few of them that you hope the killer is EACH of them lol. I really enjoyed the characters that made up the police department, at least those we encountered in this investigation, and I love Frankie and her husband as my favorite secondary characters. Oakwood, as far as small towns go, is quirky and cute and full of potential for future murders books.

On the flip side, The Book Club Murders is a lot steamier than most cozy mysteries I’ve read – a genre that can be typically trusted to be “clean fiction”. Prevalent – and strong – profanity also proved disappointing to me in this one; again, not something I am used to finding in a cozy mystery. The intimate scenes weren’t explicit enough to be offensive, but the language crossed my own personal level of tolerance.

Bottom Line: While The Book Club Murders is a skilled debut full of vibrant characters and an intriguing plot, classifying it as a “cozy mystery” may be a bit of a stretch. It has all the right elements for a fantastic thriller or edgy romantic suspense, but few of the beloved elements common to cozies. Additionally, I didn’t quite follow some of the lead detective’s motivations – professionally or personally. Be that as it may, Leslie Nagel has great talent and knows exactly how to craft an edge-of-your-seat mystery that will keep readers turning the pages until they’ve read the last word.

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

See my full review at Reading Is My SuperPower
Profile Image for Janet.
2,089 reviews25 followers
November 2, 2016
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Super cute with the murders mimicking what the book club is reading. The red herrings were perfectly done to throw the reader off the trail of the killer. This has a lot going on and Charley Carpenter is in over her head trying to piece together a murder while sorting through her feelings for Marc the hunky detective on the case. Charley has a stubborn streak that works here and makes a good protagonist. Definitely a series I would like to continue and see where it leads.
Profile Image for PugMom.
487 reviews3 followers
September 2, 2017
The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel is only the first book in this mystery series but it's one you can really sink your teeth into. It technically can be considered a cozy mystery where the amateur sleuth offers her assistance to the tough guy cop who finds her a nuisance (although unsurprisingly a love interest) but that's where the "coziness" ends. Nowhere in this book will you find cupcakes or kittens. It is a gritty mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.
I found the premise of book to intriguing to begin with. The suspects are all a part of a murder mystery book club and the killings are set up from depictions in actual mystery novels, some we all might have read at one time or another. The way the story plays out is engaging and most every character is a capable suspect. Even when you think you've guessed the ending, your armchair detective ego will be hit when you find out the truth.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan on reading more in this series.
I voluntarily reviewed this book via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Yvonne.
1,074 reviews244 followers
October 7, 2016
I always enjoy getting in on the ground floor of a new series and this one gets off to a great start. As soon as I saw this series involved a mystery book club, I knew I would have fun with it and I did.

The main character, Charley Carpenter, is a strong character who finds herself in the middle of a real life murder mystery. Her reading group calls themselves the Agathas after one of the most famous mystery authors, Agatha Christie. It’s not long before Charley realizes there is a serial killer out there and they are copying the murders from the Agatha’s reading discussion books.

With Charley’s knowledge of the mystery books, she convinces the lead Detective Marcus Trenault to allow her to help with the murder investigations. As the investigation proceeds, the sparks between Charley and Marc fly, but can they stop the killer before anyone else winds up dead?

The author provides a wide array of suspects and she keeps you guessing. She also provides the reader with an eccentric cast of characters that come to life on each page.

This book is more than a cozy mystery. It’s a romantic suspense and cozy mystery combo. Traditionally cozy mysteries are sweet…no violence, no sex and no foul language. While this book doesn’t have strong violence or sex, there is some language that might bother some. I was okay with it and it fit into the story, but I thought I’d mention it in case some are bothered by that kind of thing.

Overall, a well crafted murder mystery to keep readers thinking. Charley is a heroine readers will love and want to read more about. I know I do. I’m looking forward to more books in this new series.


FTC Disclosure: The author and NetGalley provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews50 followers
September 11, 2016
An exciting mysteries using the old framework of a book club tale. It uses creative and original aspects on this theme. For a first book, the characters are developed and likable. The Agathas is a group of wealthy and elite booklovers of Oakwood, Ohio who meet monthly to read, review and eat lunch at member's homes. The program is selected yearly, printed and sent to each member. This years mysteries that were selected are J. A. Jance's RATTLESNAKE CROSSING, THE ABC MURDERS By Agatha Christie, MURDERED SHE MEOW by Rita Mae Brown and Sarah Graves' MALLETS AFORETHOUGHT. (All excellent)
The murdered is staging his/her murders after the murder in one of these books. After the first two Murders, Charley Carpenter, a member of the group convinced Marcus Trenault, the homicide detective to use her as an informer in the investigation. Those lover's of romance will be please with the conflicts between Charley and Marcus. There enough twists and turns to make every one happy. The ending will surprise you. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: I received a free copy from Alibi through NetGalley for an honest review. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to read and review the book. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Mary Brown.
1,199 reviews45 followers
September 19, 2016
The Book Club Murders
The Oakwood Mystery Series, Book 1
Leslie Nagel
5+ Stars


Synopsis:

In a charming cozy mystery series debut, Leslie Nagel’s irrepressible small-town heroine finds that her fellow mystery book club members may be taking their Agatha Christie a bit too literally—and murder a bit too lightly.

Charley Carpenter has poured heart and soul into her clothing store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She’ll do anything to make it a success—even join the stuffy Agathas Book Club in order to cultivate customers among Oakwood, Ohio’s wealthy elite.

Although mixing with the most influential women in town has its advantages, Charley finds the endless gossip a high price to pay. But after two women with close ties to the Agathas are brutally murdered, everyone falls under threat—and suspicion. When key evidence indicates that both murders are the work of the same hand, Charley realizes that the killer has arranged each corpse in perfect imitation of crime scenes from the Club’s murder mystery reading list. She uses her membership in the Club to convince Detective Marcus Trenault to use her as an inside informant. Not that he could stop her anyway.

Intelligent, fearless, and every bit as stubborn as Marc is, Charley soon learns the Agathas aren’t the only ones with secrets to protect. Passions explode as she and Marc must race against time to prevent another murder. And if Charley’s not careful, she may find herself becoming the killer’s next plot twist. (Goodreads)

Review:

Charley Carpenter is the proud owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions and she is so proud of her shop. She has worked hard to make it successful and is willing to do just about anything to keep it that way. Even join a book club, The Agathas, where most of the members are priggish and not people she would normally spend time with. But she knows these women have money and influence, and she should try to be friends with them. When two murders occur close together, and the victims have a tie to the book club, she realizes that one of the members may be a cold blooded murderer. Since she is a member of the club, she is very well aware of the fact that she could become the next victim. She knows she has to do whatever she can to catch the killer before her life is written off for good.

The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. Charley is a hard working, smart and clever woman. One of the things I found refreshing about her and this book is that Charley did not take unnecessary chances and instead of going behind law enforcement's back, she worked with them side by side. It helped that she had a past history with lead detective, Marc Trenault, all though it was not a good history. I enjoyed reading about their antagonistic relationship. Charley’s best friends, Frankie and Dmitri, added a lot to the story and were people I was glad to get to know. And her relationship with her dad is heartwarming.

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a fast paced read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through much of the book I felt like I was right there, watching the action taking place all around me. I could see the vintage clothing in my mind and hear conversations as though I was right there in the room. I really enjoy when this happens.

The mystery is carried on well throughout the entire book. There were enough viable suspects to make picking out the killer nearly impossible. They all had motives and secrets that might be worth killing for. Twists and turns and red herrings abound and I did not figure out the murderer until it was revealed at the end. That is a real plus in my book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well plotted, well crafted mystery. This book is a lot grittier than the typical cozies that I read. The language is stronger than what is normal. In my opinion, that made the book seem more realistic. I consider this book more of a romantic suspense mystery than a cozy. This book had everything I look for in a book: mystery, romance, humor, and suspense. If I could I would give this book more than five stars, that is how much I loved it. There is not one thing I would change about it. This author has penned a fantastic debut and I am sure she will be very successful. I am eagerly looking forward to reading more books that she creates.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Alibi for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Profile Image for Carla.
5,721 reviews121 followers
April 19, 2017
This is the first book in the Oakwood Mystery Series. It is a cozy with a bit of a twist. There is some swearing and a little sex, but it is not graphic. There are several murders, there is a serial killer, which is a little uncommon in a cozy, but again, not graphic so if still fits.

Charley Carpenter owns the Old Hat Vintage Fashions store. She dropped out of school and returned home to the small town of Oakwood Ohio after her father suffered a stroke. Trying to make a go of her business during the recession, she joins the Agathas Book Club whose members are the rich and snobbish. She hopes to cultivate these ladies and their friends to become her customers. Detective Marcus Trenault and Charley have some history. She crushed on him from afar in highschool. He is also the son of her and her father's friend Evie who died recently. Marc and his mother were somewhat estranged and Charley had trouble forgiving him for that. As well he is arrogant and pig-headed, so whenever they meet up, they end up in an argument. When the sister of one of the Agathas is murdered, Charlie begins to investigate. When another young woman also ends up dead, Charley realizes that there is a connection to the Agathas. Charley has the inside scoop about the other members and Marc is going to have to bite his tongue and use her as an informant. As they continue to investigate with Charley part of the team, her life may in danger.

This was an enjoyable read. Charley is stubborn and opinionated, and not afraid to say so. Marc is arrogant in his own right. This is where the romance comes in. All of the suspects, the Agathas, are rich, snobbish, and some are quite bitchy. Charley describes them perfectly throughout the story. As their secrets unfold we see their lives, and realize that having money does not solve all problems, in fact, it causes many. I did not figure out who dun it which always makes a mystery more enjoyable to me. The mention of several mystery books in the story also added more books to my TBR list. A great read. I am looking forward to the next one in the series. 4.5 stars for me.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,844 reviews470 followers
August 20, 2016
Charley Carpenter loves retro clothing and has finally realized her dream: to own a vintage clothing shop. She is busily pouring her heart and soul into Old Hat and doing everything she can to make it successful. To drum up some business with the upper-crust ladies in Oakwood, Ohio, she joins a mystery book club, The Agathas. Each month the club members meet at a member's home to discuss a murder mystery novel. Charley finds the books enjoyable, but most of the members of Agatha are spoiled, snooty and condescending. When two ladies with close ties to the group are found murdered, their bodies posed in imitation of crime scenes from the book club's reading list, every member of The Agathas is a potential victim -- and a suspect.

This is a debut novel from Leslie Nagel. I love reading new authors! This book was well-written and enjoyable. The mystery was filled with suspense, twists and turns, and an exciting ending! I wasn't sure who the killer was until the very end!

Charley Carpenter is a likable main character. As in most cozy mysteries, her love interest is the detective assigned to the case, Marc Trenault. The romance doesn't overshadow the mystery...there's just enough to sweeten the story. I like the fact that she is independent, intelligent and a strong woman. Nagel did an excellent job developing her characters. The wealthy members of the book club are irritatingly snobbish, but not overly so. Marc has just a bit of jerk thrown in among his good looks and charm. And, Charley's friends have personalities that help move the plot along nicely. All in all, a very well written cozy mystery and an excellent first novel!! I can't wait to read more by Leslie Nagel!

The Book Club Murders is the first book in The Oakwood Mystery Series. The book releases September 27th, 2016. Learn more about the author on her website: www.leslienagel.com The site has information on her book, a recommended reading list, and even some great writing tips!

Profile Image for Carole Jarvis.
793 reviews42 followers
October 3, 2016
Reviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/2dENMNG

The Book Club Murders . . . how could any reader resist this title? There’s a lot to like about this mystery. Leslie Nagel is a very talented writer and the story is well crafted. Romance plays a big part. I loved the character depth and relational drama. I was hooked from the beginning and didn’t want to put it down.

But this story was different from the cute cozy that I expected. While a few cozy elements are present – small-town setting, amateur detective, quirky characters, murders take place off screen – The Book Club Murders felt more like a traditional murder mystery. And that’s not a criticism, because I enjoy many traditional mysteries and police procedurals. Charley and her police detective Marc are appealing, intelligent characters – and talk about chemistry!

However, two elements were present that I certainly wasn’t expecting to find in a cozy mystery. One, Charley and Marc’s relationship was pretty steamy – nothing explicit, but – well, steamy. Secondly, profanity was frequent and strong, making me quite uncomfortable. This type of language was totally unnecessary and detracted from what was otherwise a great murder mystery.

I loved the backdrop of a community book club and its group of Agathas, especially how their reading list became connected to the murders. Leslie Nagel knows how to spin an entertaining story and I’m sure many mystery fans will enjoy The Book Club Murders. This is a strong debut mystery and my 3-star rating would have been much higher had it not been for the excessive use of profanity.

Thank you to Great Escapes Tours for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Sonia Cristina.
1,796 reviews48 followers
November 26, 2021
I bet you’d love to belong to a book club where each member was called Agatha, in honor of the great Agatha Christie 😉.

In The Book Club Murders, someone is killing the Agathas and Charlie, an Agatha herself, will investigate. The investigative work puts her on the way of Detective Mac Trenault, not one of her favorite people in the world – that is, until he turns into one of her favorites❤. That was my favorite part of the book, the romance. Usually, romance takes a long time to develop in cozy mysteries but not in here.

I loved the idea of the book club, the killing of the members of that club, the murders imitating murders from mystery novels, all this in a lovely town. The only down part was: too many characters. For a while I was so confused, mixing the names of the club members and who was whose’s husband🤦‍♀️… But I was right on the killer’s identity – yay👌!

***

Quote:
""... trying to pull off the perfect murder."
"One worthy of an Agatha mystery story”, Charley mused.
“Goddamn books,”Marc said with feeling. “Mystery writers are a menace.””
Profile Image for Donna.
384 reviews50 followers
April 23, 2017
Good debut mystery - good character development, and lots of possibilities in the story.

Will definitely read her next one.
Profile Image for Nancy.
Author 7 books14 followers
September 28, 2016
Mystery Novels Provide the Staging for Grisly Murders

Charlie Carpenter is determined to make her vintage clothing store, The Old Hat, a success. Part of her campaign to entice people to shop at The Old Hat involves getting to know the rich socialites in her small town. Joining the Agathas's mystery book club was part of the plan in spite of the fact that she feels out of place and doesn't enjoy the bitchy gossip.

On her way to an Agatha meeting, she comes across a grisly scene. Someone has been murdered. The police are out in force, including Detective Marcus Trenault, her nemesis. When she arrives at the book club meeting, shockingly, she discovers that she knows the woman who has been murdered.

A second murder raises the stakes, particularly when the murders appear to replicate murders in the books the club has been reading. Charlie can't resist the challenge of besting Marcus by solving the murders, which leads to some action-packed sleuthing.

Charlie is a heroine you have to admire. She's stubborn and feisty, and she won't let Marcus tell her what she can and can't do. Marcus is equally stubborn and arrogant. Their encounters make the sparks fly. The other characters are also well done. Dimitri, the hair dresser and one of her best friends, is Charlie's staunch supporter and a real hero. The book club ladies are delightfully snobbish and bitchy.

The plot will keep you guessing. The author manages to put the spotlight on several characters, so it's hard to decide who the murderer is. If you like a cozy mystery with a romantic twist, you'll enjoy this book.

I received this book from Alibi for this review.
Profile Image for Brenda.
518 reviews22 followers
September 4, 2016
The Book Club Murders is the debut of the Oakwood Mystery series. Charlotte "Charley" Carpenter has settled into life in Oakwood, OH, living in her childhood home with her ailing father Bobby and his nurse Lawrence. Her vintage clothing shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions is successful but always looking for a way to attract more of the society mavens she has joined the Agatha Book Club, along with BFF Frankie Bright.

When the sister of one of the book club members is discovered murdered, Charley and Frankie set out to solve the crime. Charley soon crosses paths with Detective Marcus Trenault, with whom she has a rocky past. It's not long before another book club member is murdered, and Charley discovers that the murder scenes are exact replicas of the crime scenes in the books the Agathas have been reading.

This was a great mystery with lots of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages and guessing right up until the killer is revealed. I wouldn't classify this as a traditional cozy as there is some foul language - but it does have the usual best friends, family and romance. A great cast of characters will leave you waiting for the next in the series.

I receive an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley via Alibi, a division of Random House. While not required to write a review I am more than happy to offer my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Barb.
696 reviews
October 6, 2016
Charley Carpenter loves her little shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, and has even joined Oakwood's stuffy book club, the Agathas, to help promote her business among the town's well-off elite. The Agathas, named for Agatha Christie, of course, read murder mysteries, but tend to focus more on the social aspect of the club than the books themselves. When the group's members start turning up dead, in situations that resemble scenes from their recently-read books, Charley and her best friend Frankie just can't sit back and wait to be next on the killer's list.

Being a member of a mysteries-only book group, I couldn't wait to read this book. At first, the book dragged and I wasn't sure I would like Charley, as she seemed too flighty, too much of a busybody and too set in her ways. After I got into the story, however, I found it difficult to put the book down and ended up really liking it. It's a little hard to believe that the police, even in such a small town where everyone knows everyone else, would involve Charley in their investigation to the point that they did, but I was willing to overlook that for the sake of a good story. I will keep an eye out for the next book in this series, and can't wait to get to know other residents of the town of Oakwood.

I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews.
2,291 reviews113 followers
October 7, 2016
Before i get into my review, I am going to state I do not think this is a cozy. It is on the fringes, but had a few F* bombs, there was sex that was sort of behind closed doors (perhaps a smidge more explicit than you would normally find) and just didn't read like one to me.

Despite that, the book is good and I did not suspect the right person as the killer. We are led down some paths that don't lead to the killer (but the author does a great job of letting you think that person might be the one!) . I liked the premise of the book club trying to solve the murder, or at least a few of them. Of course i liked that the book club read only mysteries in tribute to Agatha Christie since that is my favorite genre.

There is a budding romance between Marc and Charley (Charlotte), but they have their moments showing their true selves to each other. Marc is jealous of the relationship between his mom & Charley and Charley's dad before her passing. Charley has her own issues too.

Overall a good book and worth reading.
Profile Image for Bree.
492 reviews35 followers
September 27, 2016
I found this book to be thrilling and set a new pace to a coach series. Charley is my new favorite protagonist and the Agatha's book club is a group I would join even with murder swirling around. I personally liked that the murders were tied in with a variety of novels that the group read. I also loved how the romance/heat between Charley and Marc was instant but one they both feared.
When the books are down I would count on Charley to make it exciting. I enjoyed the variety in pace of the book, I felt as though I was on an epic ride through the book.

I look forward to reading through this series more and seeing it progress.

** I was provided a copy via Netgalley for a fair and honest review. The review provided are my thoughts and opinions. **
Profile Image for Georgiann Hennelly.
1,926 reviews21 followers
November 24, 2016
Charley Carpenter owns the Vintage clothing store Old Hat. In order to get some Rich clients she joins the Agatha Book club with her Best Friend Frankie. The books they read are selected yearly. Each member has their own secrets which they closely guard. When one of the Agatha's sister's is murdered and the scene is set like one of the books they read! Than a second murder happens! The police are stumped . Charley figures it out and is helping the police to catch the killer. Who is it? Is it one of the Agatha's? Or someone else?
Profile Image for Britney.
256 reviews3 followers
November 17, 2017
I liked the premise of the story of it being centered around a mystery book club who call themselves "The Agathas". The story was well developed with mostly likeable characters. The MC sometimes drove me nuts, but I liked her. It's an interesting read that keeps you wanting to read.

The only thing that kept it from being a 5 star read was the how much the ploce department let a civilian get involved in solving the crime. No department in there right mind would let a civilian get deep involved & let them sit in on the task force & let them see crime scene photos & all.
363 reviews1 follower
September 18, 2016
**I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

This book has enough twists to make Agatha Christie proud! There is a lot going on in this story, but I had no trouble following along and making incorrect guesses. It seriously took until right before the killer was revealed for me to figure it out. The writing quality is amazing for a first-in-series.
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