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The Million Dollar Mysteries #1

A Penny for Your Thoughts

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From award-winning author Mindy Starns Clark comes the fast-paced and inspirational Million Dollar Mystery series.

Attorney Callie Webber investigates nonprofit organizations for the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation and awards the best of them grants up to a million dollars. In each book of the series, Callie comes across a mystery she must solve using her skills as a former private investigator. A young widow, Callie finds strength in her faith in God and joy in her relationship with her employer, Tom.

In book number one of The Million Dollar Mystery series, Callie’s assignment is to go to Philadelphia and present Wendell Smythe, an old family friend of her boss, Tom, with a check for $250,000. Mr. Smythe heads a relief organization and needs immediate funds. When Callie goes to his office, check in hand, she discovers him dead on the floor. At Tom’s request, Callie moves into Smythe’s home and begins a murder investigation.

But it’s a dangerous place to be, for the family has secrets they would rather not have uncovered. Callie’s only hope is that God will help her use her investigative skills to discover the murderer and escape the web of deceit that surrounds her.

337 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2002

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About the author

Mindy Starns Clark

46 books562 followers
Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction, and has received numerous literary honors, including two Christy Awards and RT Book Review Magazine’s 2012 Career Achievement Award. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

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5 stars
617 (40%)
4 stars
615 (40%)
3 stars
256 (16%)
2 stars
36 (2%)
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11 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 136 reviews
Profile Image for Ruth.
Author 15 books182 followers
July 12, 2014
I sat down and read this all in one today, not necessarily because I found it so gripping that I couldn't put it down, but because I know that I generally respond better to books when I read them quickly; and since I hadn't read any Christian fiction in a while, I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that I would enjoy it. Although the elements that bother me about most Christian fiction were present to a small degree, they were less evident than in books by other Christian authors that I've read in the past.

I would read Mindy Starns Clark again. Her style is good, and the dialogue only occasionally clunks. She's left room for her characters to grow, which is nice, but I would need to read the rest of the series to know how skillfully (or even if) she takes advantage of those opportunities. My biggest concern is that the spiritual conversations feel scripted and are applied with a heavy hand (but this is often the case in much Christian fiction and for some reason doesn't seem to bother most readers).
81 reviews
January 30, 2023
I had mixed feelings about this book. In the earlier part, I felt like the writing was poor and just seemed like a youngster writing. Later, I didn't feel that way so much. Maybe it was just because I got into the story more as it progressed.

The main character, who professed to be an expert at investigative work, did a lot of dumb and/or foolish things.

The book is a Christian book, but I wouldn't say that is a major part of the book. The ending was a letdown for me, as far as who the guilty party was and their motive. It just seemed totally out of character for someone professing to be a Christian, but then there was kind of a twist to their theology at the end. So I found the conclusion rather unsatisfactory.

Despite that, I may try reading the second book in the series. I did read a different book by this author a number of years ago that I quite enjoyed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Janet Sketchley.
Author 11 books71 followers
August 3, 2017
Fun start to the series. Callie is an interesting character, and I look forward to reading more about her and the mysterious Tom. The writing style is more passive than I'm used to, because it's a slightly older book (2002), but this is an engaging cozy mystery with heart and faith, and one that's not too tense to read at bedtime (although we might stay awake too late turning pages).

[Review copy from my local library.]
Profile Image for Christine.
15 reviews
August 15, 2015
I wish I liked this book more. The writing style is very formal. It reads more like a term paper then a mystery novel. The dialogue is wooden. I have certain issues with the timeline of the book. There is no way a person could be murdered one day, have the wake the next, and then buried the following day. This was my first and last Mindy Starns Clark novel.
Profile Image for Robin O'Brien.
142 reviews2 followers
February 1, 2015
The book is a bit dated and not all factual or realistic. But it is okay and it does not end happily ever after. It ends as it should. It left me with some desire to read the next book in the series to see where life takes the main character.
Profile Image for Autumn Slaght.
Author 3 books31 followers
November 25, 2022
This author and the Million Dollar Mysteries Series was recommended to me by a church member. I picked it up and began reading it on a whim. I have to say, I really enjoyed this book! I found it to be a simple read with a not so simple storyline. It was very similar to the Clue setup. You had to figure out who the killer was from a group of people in the same house. (Not the butler this time, lol!) And different nationalities too.
I don't really like reading in first person so the writing kind of threw me off a little bit. But the main character, Callie, was a character who was easy to connect to! She was very real, a widow with real flashbacks and pain as she was getting over her husband's death. Can I just say that I'm glad that her husband's death wasn't cancer or a car accident...my heart breaks for everyone who lost someone in this manner, but I get really tired of the cliche backstory for every novel and movie.
I had my suspicions which were about 90% right. It was a very well written storyline!
**spoiler alert!!! read no further**
I will say on a personal note that I felt like the Gospel presentation and Judith's conversion in the end was a little wanting. Yes, everything Callie said was true, but it was kinda cheesy in my opinion. It struck me as odd that a woman like Judith - hard core cynic her whole life with no tolerance for religion - was so easily transformed by Callie in the end. Callie really didn't say much and I feel like in real life, it would have taken a lot more than that to turn Judith's heart away from stone. As if by saying "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed! Just take it on faith!" And suddenly Judith says "Okay, let's do it." Just seemed a bit off to me.
I also am not sure how I feel about the author's take on suicide. I am a firm believer that if someone believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior that nothing - not even suicide - can take that salvation away. If we can do nothing to earn it, we can do nothing to lose it. I don't feel that that point was made very clear in the last chapter.

All in all, it was a good book and I will enjoy the rest of the series by this author. Thank you Mindy for writing such a wonderful read! Can't wait to read the rest of the series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lydia Howe.
Author 4 books72 followers
December 4, 2017
I'm not going to go into an in-depth review, and I have some pretty big spoilers, so read at your own risk. But here are my jumbled thoughts in an unordered list:

- I liked the main character and her voice and was extremely interested to read more from her point of view
- I appreciated how seriously the book treats the value of human life. I very rarely read books that have murder because I don't like it when life isn't held in the highest esteem - and in this book I felt like the main character did just that
- All throughout the book there was a lot of faith content that I REALLY liked. It felt so spot on and never preachy
- And then the end came. No, just no, no, no. Mercy killings are murder, no matter how you look at it. I don't think that the author was condoning it, but she didn't address it properly either. The ending of one of the chapters is one of the characters saying "I loved him enough to kill him." That's just plain wrong and took the book way, way down for me.

Still, I like the author and think she has a lot of good stuff to share, and she does a good job of keeping her books un-creepy and non-detailed, while still making them interesting. I'm now on the last book of the series and am happy I discovered this author.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kathy.
272 reviews
April 16, 2018
Delightfully clean series. Millionaire named Tom, who runs the Joshua Foundation gives anonymous donations to the care of Calli, his attorney/private eye assistant. Calli checks out the legitimacy of the candidates and has the great fun of presenting the abundant checks to the recipients. After their jubilant gratitude, she puts the condition the money be spent on furthering their efforts to help others. But not every investigation goes without a glitch. And the book begins to unfold.

Intrigue and plot twists intermingled with prayers fill the pages. Enjoyed the first book so much that I went ahead and bought the 5 book series.
153 reviews2 followers
July 3, 2017
My book club is reading this as a "llight summer read". It was an enjoyable book with a good twist. I really didn't "know who-done-it" until the end. The story was engaging but I had a hard time getting into the plot, through no fault of the author, but rather my finding time to read more than a few minutes. Once I found the time to sit down and read I was drawn into the story rather quickly. The suspects were well developed yet mysterious as they should be. There is a Christian element throughout the book which I didn't mind because Mindy Starns Clark tells a good story.
Profile Image for Nat Kidder.
135 reviews
January 14, 2018
The Dallas Who killed JR? segment reprises itself as the patriarch of a dysfunctional rich family drops dead in his office. Was it the secretary? The son? Colonel Mustard?

But cliche is the only weak part of Clark's tale, which is well written and keeps the reader guessing until the edifying end, lightly permeated with Christian themes. Soap fans will love it, other whodunit devotees will still find it an enjoyable read.
7,309 reviews24 followers
March 29, 2018
A book you start and want to finish, a nice family, all the employees seem like family. Then how could there be a murder, and who found the person but Callie. She was only to be there as a favor for her boss, to drop off a check, and then home. Instead she got pulled in to do the investigating, and the more she did the more she uncovered. How many people were involved, will surprise you. Had a nice flow to it, and meeting the characters, were good.
Profile Image for Joyce.
657 reviews5 followers
August 17, 2022
This is the first of one of the best series I've read in a very long time. I love the main character Callie. Love the mystery, the twists, the intrigue surrounding Callie's boss Tom. And all through the story the deep Faith that drives decisions.
Profile Image for Amanda Forsting.
124 reviews3 followers
August 26, 2017
One of the first suspenseful Christian books I ever read and I loved it. It reignited in me a love for a whole new genre and a new love for reading all together after a slump. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Patti Kerr.
100 reviews
September 29, 2017
A different twist on a murder mystery with lots of nice twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.
Profile Image for Danielle.
15 reviews36 followers
March 30, 2018
Honestly remember loving this little series. I think I read it in my late teens and had a lot of fun trying getting to know the characters while solving the mysteries. :)
Profile Image for JoDee Rogers.
123 reviews1 follower
January 17, 2019
I enjoyed the “lesser” mysteries intertwined with the main plot. While I use the term lesser, they definitely helped bring everything in the story together nicely.
3 reviews
February 22, 2019
A nice Christian mystery series with excitement, romance and compassion.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 136 reviews

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