Amanda "Mandy" Pepper is a seasoned high school teacher who has her morning routine disrupted when Liza Nichols, an actress and part-time teacher at the school, comes calling at her home. She comes ranting and raving yet making no sense to Mandy. Add into that a call from a mother that feels it is her purpose to marry her daughter off and you have chaos. Liza politely wraps herself up in Mandy's afghan and tells her to go on to work and she will nap on her couch until she has to be at the school that afternoon.
Liza fails to show up again and Mandy is understandably upset. Then after a long day she arrives home still fuming over Liza only to find her dead. Enter detective C. K. Mackenzie who makes it known that he suspects Mandy or that she is at least withholding something. Throw in the questions from her family and those that knew Liza and she is left with no choice but to find out who really killed the woman and clear her name. Who was the real Liza? Who killed her and why? Who left the expensive Winnie the Pooh necklace in Liza's cubby at school? What was Liza hiding when she told everyone she was at Mandy's house on those nights she wasn't home?
This fast moving cozy type mystery is a fun and humorous story. The only problem I found was the leaving of a stranger in my home as I went to work. Something I personally would not do, but then Mandy seems like a more generous and compassionate soul than I. You will enjoy the friction and humorous dialog between Mandy and Detective Mackenzie. I enjoyed trying to follow Mandy's thought process at times and becoming as confused as Mackenzie. Try to keep up and follow along readers as Mandy leads us on a merry chase to find the killer before they strike again. Next time he might add Mandy to those to be disposed of. And what does the C. K. stand for anyway?
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The debut of Philly Prep English teacher and accidental sleuth, Amanda Pepper, (and of C.K. Mackenzie, homicide detective) won the World Mystery Convention's "Anthony" for best first mystery.
When the body of a colleague is found dead in Amanda's living room, she has to clear herself of suspicion—and make sure she isn't the next victim as well. And all she's got as a clue to the real killer's identity is a locket shaped like Winnie-the-Pooh.