Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
Between spending Valentine’s Day with her sweetheart, Sam, and shopping upcoming Presidents’ Day sales with the Good Buy Girls, everything is coming up roses and bargains for Maggie Gerber. But when the mother of Maggie’s nemesis comes to town, things stop looking so rosy. Summer’s mom is hoping to set her spoiled daughter up with Sam, and she’ll do whatever it takes to make the match happen.
When Maggie heads to her romantic rival’s house to put a stop to the scheming, she discovers Summer standing over a dead body—holding a weapon. As much as Maggie would love to see Summer get her just desserts, she can’t shake the feeling that the meddling menace is, in fact, innocent. Now Maggie and the Good Buy Girls will have to sort through racks of suspects to find a killer—or Summer will wind up getting a truly raw deal…(from Goodreads)
Marked Down for Murder is Josie Belle’s (aka Jenn McKinlay) 4th cozy in the Good Buy Girl Mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel without having had read the earlier ones. Be prepared, however, after reading this novel, you might want to get the first ones as these are some of the most fun gals to spend time with! I had only recently read the first book and already know that I have to get #2 and 3.
Maggie Gerber, Ginger Lancaster, Joanne Claramotta, and Claire Freemont are the self-named Good Buy Girls, four ladies who are bargain hunters extraordinaire and even better friends. Maggie and Ginger have been BFF’s since they were children; there is very little they don’t know about each other. Including their best shopping secrets. Maggie has purchased the consignment shop, My Sister’s Closet, and her childhood nemesis, Summer Phillips, has added her very own consignment shop directly across the street. If this is your first trip through St. Stanley, Virginia, Summer is ….um …. the girl you least wanted to be friends with. And we won’t even mention her mother, Blair.
Oh sorry, we do have to mention Blair. After she has the audacity to visit Maggie and offer her a large check if she will break up with her awesome gentleman friend so that Summer can snag him up, Maggie goes to settle things with Summer once and for all. When arriving at Summer’s bungalow, she hears a scream from inside, enters the unlocked door, and finds Summer, standing over a body, holding what could be the murder weapon. And Maggie begins to feel that, in spite of all their differences, Summer just might be innocent.
Thus begins another investigation in which the sheriff demands she not take part in, even if the other Good Buy Girls have some of the most juicy information about the dead man. Even if all Maggie is guilty of is listening to the scoops. Because in all likelihood, there is a murderer on the loose, even though Summer is still in jail as a person of interest.
The Good Buy Girls, in their various careers, have ways of finding all the dirt on the bad guys, sometimes more than even the sheriff can. And they are actually working together to get their not-so BFF out of jail, in spite of the years of animosity. Demonstrating forgiveness, or at least kindness, when Summer is actually innocent of something – even this grisly crime – speaks volumes about this group of gals. And when they get together, almost anything can happen! They meet over food and wine to search out not only the best sales, but the most likely suspect.
Jenn McKinlay, writing as Josie Belle, shows a different side of her amazingly versatile writing talent with this series. The crime itself is well-plotted with its own tangles and snarls that keep the reader guessing. The characters are as fully-developed as needed, right down to their Southern hospitality. The Good Buy Girls and their adversary, Summer, bring a whole new meaning to women’s relationships, fun, and unselfish caring. They are delightful, witty, wise and can solve almost anything when they get together – even if they end up getting into harm’s way themselves. The Good Buy Girls, alone or together, are the type of friends that most ladies of a certain middle age would love to have. Even Summer and Blair, for all their annoyances, have positive attributes.
This is definitely a series to enjoy; Marked Down for Murder is a blast! I highly recommend this novel to those who appreciate a well-thought-out mystery with an extraordinary group of women sleuths. It is more light-hearted than many cozies, exactly the kind of story to curl up with after a stressful day when a good laugh is just what you need. Oh – and if you are a bargain shopper, like many of us are these days – there are tips at the end of the book that you might find helpful when you put together your next shopping list.