This week we have a series of cozy mysteries by Diane Weiner! The first book of the series is Murder Is Elementary: A Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mystery. The most recent one in the series is Murder Is Private: A Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mystery!
In Murder Is Elementary, Susan Wiles is a retired teacher who used to teach at Westbrook Elementary School. Susan attends the holiday concert without the worry of how her chorus students will do. But, where is the principal, Vicky Rogers? The concert cannot go on unless she greets the parents and guests. Susan offers to check the main office, only to find the missing administrator dead on the office floor. Nothing like this ever happened while Susan worked there! Now that Susan has retired, she has time to help with local police (one of whom is her daughter Lynette) investigate the mysterious crime. Susan has just found the perfect retirement activity—much to her daughter’s chagrin. When the dead woman’s teenage daughter, on of Susan’s former top students, begs for Susan’s help how can she say no? Susan doesn’t realize, however, that this crime will take her far from the schoolhouse doors and into the painful past of a family.
Check out this excerpt!
Her thoughts were interrupted by the inevitable feedback from the microphone on the stage. Amidst the buzz in the cafeteria, the assistant principal called the audience back to their sears. Susan knew what would follow. Vicky Rogers was about to take the stage to give her usual speech—how AWESOME the chorus was, how AWESOME the parents were for supporting their children, how AWESOME the music teacher was, and how PROUD she was to be principal of Westbrook Elementary. Like a ceiling fan winding down, the audience gradually quieted. When Mrs. Rogers didn’t immediately appear, Susan noticed Mr. Ford, the assistant principal, beginning to clumsily improvise. He’s trying to buy some time, thought Susan. It looks like he could use a bit of help. Susan approached the stage and whispered in Mr. Ford’s ear that she’d go find Vicky. She had remembered seeing her head toward her office. Susan hurried down the hall, pushed open the heavy glass door to the administrative suite, and passed the secretary’s desk en route to the principal’s office. She knocked again. Then she turned the knob, opened the door, and screamed.
Murder Is Secondary is the second edition to the series. Susan Wiles thought she’d be content spending her time knitting baby blankets and volunteering at the local high school, but the retired teacher was dead wrong. Her husband’s best friend, Tank, is accused of sexually harassing one of his students, so Susan puts her sleuthing skills into action. Her husband and police detective daughter aren’t too happy about it, but when a dead body is discovered in a construction site behind the school, the stakes escalate quickly. Before Susan can solve this new mystery and exonerate Tank, she finds herself dealing with family and personal issues that force her to realize that murder is secondary.
Check out this excerpt!
“Oh, no you don’t. Don’t get mixed up in this. I know you want to help, so do I. I think we need to let the police handle this. If you want to help ask around for lawyer recommendations or bake Tank some lasagna. Wait, on second thought, nix the lasagna.” Susan knew Mike hadn’t married her for her cooking ability.
“Sure. I can do that.” Susan hoped she sounded enthusiastic enough to appease Mike.
He gave her a kiss and locked the front door on his way out.
Susan cleared the table, filled up the cat food bowls, and ran upstairs to get ready. She was going to find out what they had on Tank one way or another. She jumped into her Prius and headed to the school. I’m going to get to the bottom of this, she thought, feeling a twinge of excitement in her stomach.
Diane Weiner has enjoyed reading for as long as she could remember. The veteran school teacher and mother of four has fond memories of reading Nancy Drew and Mary Higgins Clark on snowy weekend afternoons in upstate New York. She yearned to create books that would bring the same kind of enjoyment to her readers as she experienced. The animal lover and vegetarian shares her home with two adorable cats and a bisch-a-poo. In her free time, the author enjoys running, attending community theater productions, and spending time with her family.
Murder Is Elementary is her first cozy mystery about a retired school teacher Susan Wiles, and her latest installment to the series is her fourth cozy mystery: Murder Is Private.