Review by J.B. Thompson

Colorado Springs-based gift basket entrepreneur Claire Hanover is a lonely housewife who just wants her workaholic husband to pay more attention to her. When a divorced friend encourages her to have a fling with their handsome aerobics instructor, she agrees to let him give her a massage. While she’s sprawled out half-naked on her bed, he’s shot and killed, and Claire’s husband Roger is caught holding the smoking gun. Roger accuses Claire of infidelity and claims he’s innocent. Claire, convinced he’s being framed, vows to find the real killer before Roger goes to trial. Claire encounters a number of characters who would prefer she give up her amateur sleuthing and let the police handle things, although they refuse to believe they’ve got the wrong man. Despite making her share of mistakes, Claire perseveres, knowing the truth is the only thing that will save what’s most important to her – her marriage and the man she loves.

Beth Groundwater has penned a clever, charming debut novel. Claire is a likeable – if fallible – rank amateur who charges ahead despite her nearly non-existent sleuthing skills, relying heavily on the guidance of a PI friend who talks her through interviewing suspects and even breaking and entering at a drug-dealer’s apartment. Of course, Claire ends up in several tight spots, managing to escape in some instances by little more than the grace of God and her own determination, but she learns from her mistakes and presses on.

Groundwater’s well-crafted characters comprise a nicely balanced cast, and she does a good job incorporating a blend of humor and relationship drama into a deftly twisted plot with the kind of surprise ending guaranteed to satisfy. Quick-paced and well written with clear and comfortable prose, A REAL BASKET CASE is a perfect afternoon read for cozy fans


J.B. Thompson is the author of two novels of romantic suspense currently in publication (www.jbtauthor.com). In addition to conducting author interviews, she writes book and movie reviews. J.B. blogs at “Let’s Do Lunch – The World According to J.B.”. She lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and three teenagers

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