Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review: "Hazards of the Game" by Norma Tadlock Johnson

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Worldwide Mystery Library (Nov. 2011)
ISBN-13: 978-0373267767
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Recently widowed Paula Madigan agrees to house-sit for a friend on Puget Sound. Soon, new friends and a fresh perspective find her on the golf course, where to her shock, she discovers the bejeweled hand of a dead woman in the sand trap. The victim, unpopular at the country club, was suspected of sending nasty anonymous notes to other members. But when Paula receives her own ominous note after the murder, it's clear the writer—perhaps the killer—is alive and well.

Paula's life becomes even more complicated when the thirteen-year-old granddaughter she's never met visits for the summer. She's a typical teenager whose knack for sleuthing puts her in danger's path. Another murder occurs and Paula, desperate to protect her granddaughter, has to draw on all her detective skills—before death becomes par for the course.

Saph's Review:

After her husband dies while playing golf, Paula Madigan, is approached  with an offer to house-sit for a friend.  Hoping it will help Paula to be away from everything for a while, she agrees.  So, off to Kamiak Hills Paula goes to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Pappas, which is on a prestigious golf course.  After getting settled, Paula joins some of the residents in a round of golf.  When they get to the fourth green a body is discovered buried under the sand in the bunker.  To top off that emotionally draining event, Paula's estranged daughter Jennifer, whom she hasn't spoken to in 16 years, tracks her down.  It seems that Jennifer wants to go to Europe with her boyfriend but doesn't want to have her 13 year old daughter Laurie tagging along.  After the reuniting of Paula with a granddaughter that she didn't even know she had, another murder takes place.  When Laurie and their neighbor's son Josh get injured in a hit-and-run accident, Paula pulls out all the stops, determined to catch the killer before another person sets injured or killed.

"Hazards of the Game" is a pretty clean mystery, suitable for at least 13 +. There are a couple mild swear words but nothing over the top. The plot is well thought out and the descriptions of every aspect, important or not, are vivid.  The identity of the murderer isn't hard to figure out but the journey through the pages of this cozy mystery is exciting and kept me interested.  Paula is likable and I'm glad that she was able to view her past marriage to Fred in an objective manner since his death and realize that Fred's treatment of her and her role within the relationship wasn't the most desirable.  Laurie is a typical teenager and she, too, is likable.  She is somewhat advanced for her age due, in part, to her upbringing with a mother that isn't described as much other than maybe a bit irresponsible.  The secondary characters play their respective parts well.  All-in-all this is a fast and easy read and if you are a fan of mysteries, especially clean ones, then this might be right up your alley.


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