Welcome to one of the July 12th stops on the blog tour
for Maxed Out by C.S. McDonald with iRead Book Tours.
(Tour schedule linked.) There are multiple books being
reviewed on this tour and today’s post is my review
of Taking Notes on Murder. Be sure to follow the rest
of the tour for spotlights and reviews on all included
books, other bonus content, and a giveaway!
More on that at the end of this post.
From the author—
Mysterious notes are showing up in Fiona’s kindergarten classroom, claiming a suicide from 2005 was actually a homicide. Detective Landry maintains the messages are too vague, possess no integrity, and do not warrant a review of the old case.
Fiona’s not convinced. She’s determined to find the author of the enigmatic notes and uncover the truth about a man who had many secrets and countless enemies, including Fiona’s mother and former suspect Nancy Quinn!
Can Fiona crack this cold case, and what will it take to get Detective Landry involved? Don’t miss taking notes on this murder!
Following their cruise in the last book, Fiona and Nathan are back home, keeping the secret that they got married. Fiona is once again in her kindergarten classroom and it isn’t long before she’s enticed into investigating another death, prompted by a series of notes claiming that a suicide from years ago was, in fact, not a suicide. Fiona needs nothing more to start snooping but her detective husband, Nathan, says the notes alone are not enough reason to re-open the case. Naturally, he changes his mind when Fiona herself is threatened.
As it turns out, high school teacher James Arnold was a most unlikeable man, a real creep, so there’s no shortage of suspects including his own family and colleagues. Fiona and Nathan have enough investigating to keep them busy but they also have to contend with the latest shenanigans of her unseen but present ghostly grandmother. Those interludes are refreshing and funny, helping to break the tension.
In my earlier review of the previous book, I mentioned that I was undecided as to whether I liked the narration of the audiobook. Unfortunately, this entry confirms my thought that the main character’s voice is really annoying—Fiona sounds like an overgrown version of one of those kindergartners she teaches. She plucks my last nerve but Ms. Waxenberg does a nice job with the other characters and maintains appropriate pacing so I was willing to overlook the distraction. All said, Taking Notes on Murder is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2021.
About the Author
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries has nine books.
Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy!
Cindy resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
About the Narrator
Ms. Waxenberg is a voice over artist and presentation coach. She serves as a consultant to the Professional Development Company, Inc. teaching presentation and interview skills seminars to a variety of clients, Columbia MBA, and SIPA graduate students. Maren has a 30-year background in special events, performing arts production and the entertainment industry. In 1996, she founded Maren Productions which produces audio books, radio and television voice-overs, and podcasts. Maren Productions also offers special event production and consultancy services.
Follow the tour here.
Autographed copy of MAXED OUT, plus
other gifts (USA only) (ends Jul 23)