Great Murdery Expectations–and #giveaway

Hello Friends of the Wickeds. Today I’d like to welcome Libby Klein back to the blog. Libby’s latest title is Beauty Expos Are Murder, which came out on June 29. It’s the sixth book in her popular Poppy McAllister mystery series. AND she’s giving away a copy to one lucky commenter below.

Palm and tropical beach

Here’s the blurb:

Easter weekend on the Jersey Shore is hopping. Poppy’s Bed and Breakfast is busier than ever, but she needs to leave things in the hopefully capable hands of Aunt Ginny–and paws of Figaro the black smoke Persian. She’s selling her paleo muffins and keto cookies at the Health and Beauty Expo in Cape May’s Convention Hall. Normally sharing a booth with the love of her life would be a treat, but she’s recently discovered secrets that throw her new romance into chaos.

But more secrets are about to be exposed at the expo. In his keynote address, prominent cosmetic surgeon Dr. Lance Rubin reveals his breakthrough anti-aging technology. Unfortunately, someone has one-upped him with a truly foolproof anti-aging formula: murder. With the plastic surgeon dead under his own UV mask, and bedlam reigning in the hall and back at the B&B, Poppy needs to follow a twisted trail marked by glowing footprints to unmask a killer…

Take it away, Libby!

Even since my first cozy mystery was published, friends and family have been trying to test my detective skills. Somehow, it’s become their personal mission to stump me like I’m channeling the ghost of Agatha freakin’ Christie here. They’ll chose a movie for us, then watch me watch it.

Them: “Did you figure it out?”

Me: “The victim hasn’t even died yet. Settle down.”

Sometimes I figure it out right away and tell no one. The humiliation of being wrong is way too high a price to pay. Like all my street cred as a mystery author is tied up in one episode of Poirot.

Then there are other times I think I’ve figured it out only to be disappointed at the reveal. Not only was I wrong about who the murderer was, but my version of the ending would have been way better. Oh, this week’s guest celebrity really was the killer. I was expecting the lead to have multiple personalities – but I guess this is good too.

And of course, most mysteries, whether book, TV or movie, are written in such a way that anyone could have done it right up to the end. So, most of the time when I figure it out – I didn’t actually figure anything out. I just had a hunch that paid off because that’s how I would have written it.

I was horribly deceived with one British mini-series recently. I suspected the killer right away (again – because that’s how I would have written it) but discounted them because my author’s sense of pacing was tricked. When a series has six episodes you expect the tension to go back and forth for six episodes. Not four episodes and two episodes that turn out to be postproduction interviews – I’m talking to you Acorn.

This brings me to Mother’s Day. My daughter bought me one of the Murder Mystery kits where you have to comb through the evidence of a crime and figure out who the killer is. We went through it together on vacation. I was very serious with my investigation. I wanted to put the clues on the wall and tie strings to link them, but I was afraid she’d think I was crazy. (It’s a good thing she hasn’t seen my office when I’m working on one of Poppy’s mysteries.)

I was so afraid of being wrong and looking like an idiot that I took a very long time to declare my killer. When we checked the answer online, I was beyond thrilled to have figured it out. I was relieved. I didn’t realize how important it was to me to be right. And it was close too. My second prime suspect had an error in the game documents. A typo affected the clue that was supposed to give him an alibi so we never cleared him. I mean no one is in jail for a year waiting to get bail. Not even in the 1800s. We figured he must have been released after a few hours and gotten himself arrested again a year later. Right? I thought it was a red herring.  Stupid typo.

Readers: So how about you? Do you usually figure out whodunit before the reveal? Are you taking notes when you read and watch TV, or are you just along for the entertainment ride? And have you done a mystery box puzzle before? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Comment below and I’ll give away one copy of Beauty Expos Are Murder to a lucky poster.

61 Thoughts

  1. I often can figure out whodunit. I’m usually along for the ride and I have never done a mystery box puzzle. I am going to look into it though. It sounds like fun!

  2. I have mixed results – sometimes it’s obvious to me, most times it is not. My husband is much better at figuring them out. I love the reveal where the whole plot is finally explained. I’ve never heard of the mystery box, but boy I loved the game Clue! I can certainly understand why you feel pressured to be a whiz at solving mysteries, though!

    1. Clue is still a favorite of mine! Mysteries are a lot easier to solve when you’re the one who comes up with the plot.

  3. Welcome to the blog, Libby! That’s so funny – nobody has ever watched me watching a mystery show to see if I can figure it out. If anything, Hugh asks me to be quiet when I pipe up with “That’s ridiculous” or “They wouldn’t do that!”

    The mystery box sounds like lots of fun. Best of luck with the new book!

    1. I admit, I have recently started doing the same. After doing so much research as a writer to get things right, you recognize errors in the investigative process on TV and movies. Thank you so much for letting me visit the Wickeds.

  4. Oh, mystery box! Never heard of them, now I’m on the hunt!

    I have two speeds on watching mysteries – go along for the ride and dig in and see if I can guess the killer. My favorite activity, though, is spotting the twists and how they relate to the story. Is it a red herring? Is it a clue? I watched Sixth Sense with a bunch of cop friends. We had the twist at the git go and spent the movie admiring how the writer hid the obvious. It was like a master class in plotting.

    1. The Sixth Sense fooled me all the way through! I love the feeling of surprise when you didn’t see the twist ahead of time. I hope that’s what I give to my readers.

  5. Think my starting to figure out whodunit started back when I was a kid and fascinated with the game Clue. When watching shows or reading books dealing with a mystery, I take a lot of mental notes and yes, now that I’m older, hve started to write them down.

    Figuring out the answer to whodunit and why is very satisfying, but oh how I love when an author slips on by me where the reveal surprises me and at the same time makes perfect sense when you go back and examine the facts.

    Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to win a copy of “Beauty Expos Are Murder” which sounds amazing and is most definitely on my TBR list. Shared and hoping to be the fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    Never had the chance to solve one of the mystery boxes, but it sounds amazing. Bet it was loads of fun working along side your daughter while competing to see who solved it first.

    1. The mystery box was a lot of fun. Not the easiest activity for more than one person since it’s mostly reading, but talking about the clues and motives was really fun. She read a lot of it out loud to me and I read it again after she went to bed.

  6. Congrats on the new book Libby.

    I don’t usually figure out the killer before the reveal. Sure, sometimes I do but when I’m reading a book I tend to follow along with the story not try to piece things together as I’m reading.

    In TV, “The Economy of Guest Stars” says that the killer is usually the guest star you recognize the most. I probably have a better track record figuring out TV killers but again, I’m not really trying to do that while I’m watching. I like being along for the ride more than puzzling it out ahead of time.

    1. I definitely like to sit back and enjoy the entertainment. And most of your tv shows don’t play fair anyway. The final clue is always shown right before the reveal. I mean, we all know who it is at that point!

  7. I do try to figure out whenever reading mysteries but when watching them it’s for pure entertainment.

  8. Yep, I read to figure it out. Once all the characters are in play – I pick two to three that I know is the murderer. That is when the fun begins checking out the clues that the author has planted in the story. I do love those “aha” moments because then I know exactly the killer’s identity and it’s fun to watch how the author lays it out.

    I never done a mystery box.

    1. I sometimes figure it out, which ruins the book for me. Some books are way too predictable.

    2. And you read a lot of mysteries, so you are probably very good at spotting the clues. You would love the mystery box, you should give them a try.

  9. Welcome back, Libby! Wow that is a lot of pressure, but I love that you work through it based on how you would have written it — very clever. I’m usually just along for the ride! Congratulations on the new book!

    1. I can’t help it. That’s why I started writing in the first place. There are also many great mysteries out there – in books and TV/movies that stump me all the time. Thank you!

  10. Congratulations on your new mystery Libby!

    Fascinating topic, very well explained!

    Trying to figure out whodunnit is the most fun about reading cozies, whether you are successful or not.

    My wife and I have played mystery jigsaw puzzles that come with a storybook, and then you have to figure out what happened when you finish putting the puzzle together. The Escape Room games are also complicated and rewarding at the end (if you succeed at solving the mystery).We also bought a Murder Mystery Party Game, but then the pandemic hit, and we couldn’t invite anyone for a dinner party. We are looking forward to doing this soon., I will play the inspector role…

    We avidly watch Acorn and Britbox, and ‘usually’ guess who the killer is. We agree with you that some programs go on and on after the climax has long passed…that is also true of some books that have 2-3 chapters plus an epilogue, which in some cases do not add any value to the story, even if they are meant to be a bridge to the next book.

    Thank you for sharing your writing magic with us readers!

    1. Thank you so much for the response! I have a couple mystery jigsaws and an escape room puzzle! I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m going to have to pull them out of the closet now. I have done those murder mystery parties and I love them – but I am a ham for dressing up and playing a part.

  11. Congratulations on your new mystery Libby!

    Fascinating topic, very well explained!

    Trying to figure out whodunnit is the most fun about reading cozies, whether you are successful or not.

    My wife and I have played mystery jigsaw puzzles that come with a storybook, and then you have to figure out what happened when you finish putting the puzzle together. The Escape Room games are also complicated and rewarding at the end (if you succeed at solving the mystery).We also bought a Murder Mystery Party Game, but then the pandemic hit, and we couldn’t invite anyone for a dinner party. We are looking forward to doing this soon., I will play the inspector role…

    We avidly watch Acorn and Britbox, and ‘usually’ guess who the killer is. We agree with you that some programs go on and on after the climax has long passed…that is also true of some books that have 2-3 chapters plus an epilogue, which in some cases do not add any value to the story, even if they are meant to be a bridge to the next book.

    Thank you for giving us readers hours of fun!

  12. When my husband and I watch Hallmark movies and mysteries we try and solve the murder. He does pretty good. When I read a mystery I try and figure it out but I’m lucky to get 50 % correct !

    1. I think it’s fun to be surprised, but also see all the clues you failed to pick up on that were there the whole time. That means it was good entertainment that got you lost in the story.

  13. I am terrible to watch a mystery with- lucky for me my friends are the same. We point out all of the inconsistencies and pick out who did it and why. This is our Subday get together each week. Then we have a big dinner!

    1. That sounds like so much fun, Jennifer! I once ruined Star Trek for my group of friends who didn’t realize that each story revolved around a thinly veiled social issue. On the other hand, they are always irritated with superhero movies because they aren’t true to the comic books and I’ve never read the comic books so I’m really easy to please.

  14. Hi Libby!
    Thank you for the chance to win your wonderful book!!! Loved reading your post. 🥰
    I try so hard to guess who the killer is all the time. Lol!!!But, with all the twist and turns to throw me off I never can. Lol!
    To me that’s what makes a good mystery and keeps me up late at night reading!!

  15. Congrats on the new book, Libby! Seldom do I figure out whodunit, but I always make a stab at it. My book club points out all the inconsistencies and things that are just too unrealistic, and some of the members are better at figuring out the end than others. But, I most just read for the enjoyment of reading and don’t care if I’m right or wrong. Like Kathy, I love the reveal where the whole plot is explained.

    I have never done a boxed mystery. They sound intriguing, but more time consuming than I am willing to put into them.

    1. Don’t feel bad, Ginny. Some things that seem too unrealistic are actually plausible and the author did a lot of research to make sure of it. The enjoyment of reading is what it’s all about anyway.

  16. I like to try and figure it out and usually do, but it’s mostly about the enjoyment of the story.
    I have a jigsaw puzzle that when put together give clues to solve a mystery laid out in an accompanying booklet. It’s fun, I’ve been on the lookout for others.

  17. For as many mysteries as I have watched and read, you’d think I could figure them out better. But, no. I usually accuse pretty much everybody along the way. 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win your book.

    1. Violet, LOL – you are not alone. The only suspect no one guesses is the jerk who is too obvious. And if it ever is that jerk, then everyone says the story was too predictable. Good luck!

  18. Have never done a mystery box puzzle. Love reading cozy mysteries, though. Sometimes I just go with the flow & other times I try to figure it out. Occasionally, I sneak to the back of the book and peek. I am beginning to think most authors know readers like me & use the last chapter to show what happened AFTER the mystery was solved. Still go back where I snuck away from and finish the book, though.

    1. Linda- LOL – NO! Don’t go to the back! I admit that sometimes I have gotten excited and started reading so fast I was skimming. I had to make myself calm down and go back. And once I walked into a bookstore, pulled the book I was thinking about buying, turned right to the back to see if it really did end the way it was “supposed to.” And when I saw that it really did end that way I put it back on the shelf and walked away. I was too disgusted to buy it at that point. I do love a good epilogue because I don’t like to say goodbye. I have never thought of it as a foil for readers who are peeking but now you’ve given me ideas. 😀

  19. Hi, most of the time I try to figure it out, but alot of times it is way too hard to figure it out with all the twists and turns, that I love reading or watching on tv. I love reading mysteries with twists and turns and that keep you on the edge of your seat. Your book sounds like a Great read, Thank you for sharing about it and thank you for the chance. I have never done a mystery puzzle box. Have a Great week and stay safe.

  20. The lovely mysteries I read find me perched on the main character’s shoulder trying to help figure out the clues. I feel involved, especially with favorite characters. Our eldest son and his wife play mystery box games, but I much prefer reading a mystery book. Best of luck with your series!

    1. I like a series where I can follow the same characters and get to know them. I hate saying goodbye when the story is over. Thank you so much, Judy.

  21. Hi Libby!
    Congrats on your new release. I really enjoyed reading Beauty Expos Are Murder (although I did not read the previous book and wish I had).

    Sometimes I can figure out whodunit, sometimes not. I enjoy when the author keeps you guessing until the end.

    I have never played a mystery box puzzle. Sounds intriguing.
    I’ve always been a huge Clue fan (I even enjoyed the movie with its multiple endings. Very clever).

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book.

    1. Ann, I’m sorry you didn’t get to read Wine Tastings first. I wish the publisher had put a warning on the NetGalley. Beauty Expos is even better if you’ve read all five books that come before it. I have a lot going on in my series and it could read as one giant novel! But I know you will enjoy getting caught up! And Clue is one of my favorite movies! I love Tim Curry.

  22. First, congratulations on your latest release! I do try to figure out the murderer when I read or watch a mystery. I can’t really help it – It’s been happening ever since I first started reading Nancy Drew! I have mixed results. I’ve never heard of the mystery box but it sounds like fun!

    1. Renee, Same! And you should try one of the mystery boxes. You would love it. I should try to find a way for us to do something like that in the Cozy Mystery Crew on one of my host days.

  23. Hello Ladies!
    You managed to round up one of my faves. Thank you for that!
    Mrs. Libby~ 🙂
    I do “try” to figure out where the story and the author are going, but like many– I can’t. I have to find a way to “see” the inconsistencies in characters’ stories or events, or whatever. Now, this Mystery Box sounds like great fun! I may have to do a little shopping. Your daughter is very clever. (so, she gets that from Mr. Libby then?) Yes, I know I will pay for that one at some point. I’ll spill the beans here about the goings-on in my mind– well, not ALL of them, but the reason my favorite cozy authors are my faves are BECAUSE you keep me guessing and changing my mind until the reveal. You may see my name pop up on a list from Scrawl. I think I need a new autographed book with a certain Overlord on the cover. I’m missing Sir Fig, Aunt Ginny, Poppy, et al from my beloved collection. Hey… more shopping!! 🙂

    1. Tracy, I sure hope Mr. Libby doesn’t read that. He’s already too clever for his own good. I love that I can keep you guessing. I certainly work hard at it. Anytime I see your name on a Scrawl order I will be sure to add extra little treats from his royal fluffiness. xoxo

  24. I figure it out about 50% of the time. I’ve recently started trying to take notes while I”m reading. In one way it helps my retention (which is awful sometimes), but in another way I feel like stopping to take notes interrupts the flow. I haven’t done a mystery box. Are they like a game that requires more than one person, or is it something I could do by myself?

    1. Sue, the mystery box is something you can do by yourself. And you can take all the notes you want! I took my notes right on the documents (even though I told myself not to!)

  25. Congratulations on your new book! I do love a good mystery! I don’t always figure out who done it. LOL. I love a good book mystery that I enjoy being kept on the edge of my seat that I can’t figure it out until the end. I love watching Hallmark movies and mysteries with hubby. He’s good at guessing!

    Thanks for the chance!

  26. Hi Libby! Congratulations on your new release!

    I tend to try and figure out which the killer is while reading, or I do unless the story itself manages to draw me in thoroughly. When that happens, there will come a point where I have to step back for a bit and I will try then to guess whodunnit.

    As for game type mysteries, I enjoy Clue, but rarely have anyone to play it with. But I did recently get to do an Unsolved Case File with one of my cousins. We had to figure out who killed Jane Doe. Of course, part of the mystery was figuring out just who Jane Doe really was. I managed to help my cousin some, but I confess, who I thought was the actual killer was wrong. Though I have looked up that game since, thinking, maybe I’ll give it another go sometime. See if I can do better.

    Thank you for the chance to win.

    1. B, Thank you so much. I love a good mystery too! Mostly I love to be riveted by a good story in any genre. Good Luck!

    2. Meaghan, My box mystery sounds a lot like yours! I liked having my daughter to discuss the case with and bounce ideas off of each other. She was really good at picking up clues too! Good luck!

  27. It depends on how the book is written. Sometimes, I can figure it out. I watch tv and movies as entertainment. I have never completed a mystery box puzzle. Thank you for the opportunity.

  28. I am usually in it for the entertainment value but I often figure things out. I have never completed a mystery box puzzle.

  29. Mostly I watch for entertainment value, but if I’m paying close attention to the details I do solve the mystery a lot of the time.

  30. I seem to figure out mysteries on television better than in cozies! I just like reading about the eclectic characters!

  31. I never heard of a mystery box sounds like fun. Thank you for the chance to win this book. Here’s hoping 📚I try to guess about 50% of the time I get it.

  32. SOMETIMES I guess the perpetrator, but mostly I just want to know what happened next.

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