Saturday, September 19, 2015

Crime and Clutter

Crime and Clutter
A Friday Afternoon Club Mystery
Cyndy Salzmann
Howard Fiction
Simon and Schuster
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-1-58229-644-9
Trade Paperback
$ 12.99
270 pages
It's confession time.  What secrets about your family would you prefer no one to ever know?   What do you believe your friends would think if they knew about your past?
Everyone needs a good friend and the Friday Afternoon Club is a group of women who for many years have supported each other and their families while creating a close-knit group of six women who also pray together.   Lucy, Jessie, Marina,  Mary Alice, Kelly and Liz take turns on hosting this weekly event  at four.   Obviously their families  assist in allowing these women their special "me" time.  This special relationship  has kept this group together for over eleven years.
Marina who is a female lieutenant on the Omaha, Nebraska police department is discussing  a bust that had happened earlier in the day at Storage Unlimited.  Apparently this was where the supplies for a meth lab had been stored and the fire department had to be involved in the clean-up.
As Marina is telling the group of this event, Mary Alice is turning paler with each word.  Marina ends this discussion by asking Mary Alice what she was doing at the storage unit facility.  Mary Alice is so startled and upset that she drops the glass pitcher on the floor.
Why is Mary Alice so upset?  To the members of the group, they know that Mary Alice could never be involved with anything criminal.  She looks and acts like the perfect shining example for each of them.  What is she hiding?
Crime and Clutter is a light, cozy mystery involving these women as they uncover Mary Alice's past, including what she has chosen not to share and what she does not know.    Unique to this Christian mystery are helpful household hints such as the best way to clean up glass,  recipes that are delectably  delicious, discussion questions for book groups.  Added to this is a mystery surrounding a historical era which slowly uncovers a past that Mary Alice never knew, a past she had always hidden from others and herself, and her reconciliation of the two. 
Who would best enjoy this book?  Crime and Clutter is aimed at a middle-aged audience of women who have children in school,  a career, a spouse while maintaining a strong Christian relationships.   The book's characters are real women who lead very busy lives.
Revealing the events of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago as  historical  initially bothered me.  How can something that I watched on television be history?   However revisiting this time of change in our society is refreshing besides aging this reviewer.  This would additionally add the readership to women who at some time in their lives have been these women in some form.
Cyndy Salzmann has previously published three Christian nonfiction books on home management for the "domestically challenged." 
Crime and Clutter is the sequel to Salzmann's novel, Dying to Decorate.  
Crime and Clutter is a delightful fast-reading novel for the overwhelmed and busy mom of today.

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