Eternally 21 by Linda Joffe Hull is the first book in the new “Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, June 2013
Coupon-clipping Mrs. Frugalicious gets more than she bargained for
After Mr. Frank “Finance” Michaels loses the family’s financial nest egg in a Ponzi scheme, his wife Maddie does whatever she can to help keep up the appearance that everything is financially fine. When she starts a bargain hunter’s blog under the alias Mrs. Frugalicious, her website becomes a viral hit with a growing “frugarmy” of budget advice seekers.
While Maddie is researching “frugasm”-worthy deals on holiday shopping for teens, Eternally 21 store manager Laila DeSimone mistakenly accuses her of shoplifting. Then her day goes from bad to worse when Laila expires on the floor. Since Laila was a universally disliked manager, the murder suspect list is longer than Maddie’s bargain spreadsheet. But when evidence points to Maddie as the prime suspect, she must track down the real culprit. Can she uncover the truth before police throw away her get-out-of-jail-free coupon for good?
In order to keep up with appearances after her husband loses all their money, Maddie dispenses bargain hunting tips until that fateful day she goes to the mall and soon becomes embroil in a murder investigation where she becomes the prime suspect.
This fast-paced, non-stop action drama is a delightfully entertaining read that I could not put down. The author did a good job in delivering a solid story with many subplots that had me quickly turning the pages to get to the next scene. The mystery kept me guessing with some surprising twists that I did not see coming, especially with events that led up to the killer’s identity. Maddie is excitably lovable protagonist who will do anything to clear her name and protect her family. Surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters, this debut series is a welcome addition to the cozy mystery genre. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Maddie in the next book in this terrific series. Bonus bargain hunting tips are included.