To Helen Back ~ A River Road Mystery #1

  • ToHelenBackAudiobook
  • Author: Susan McBride
  • Performed by Joyce Bean
  • Released: October 2015 by Harper Audio
  • Category: Cozy Mystery
  • four-stars

In this fun and sassy new mystery, USA Today best-selling author Susan McBride introduces us to Helen Evans, a modern-day Miss Marple who must expose a murderer in a town full of suspects! 

When Milton Grone turns up dead in tiny River Bend, Illinois, nearly all the would-be suspects have the perfect alibi: attending Thursday night’s town meeting. And as Milton was hardly beloved, plenty of folks had a reason to do him in.

Though most of River Bend would rather reward the killer than hang him, Sheriff Biddle’s not about to let this one go – and neither is Helen Evans. With a penchant for puzzles and an ear for innuendo, Helen quickly fingers the culprit before Biddle puts the wrong suspect in jail.

Milton Grone is widely disliked, if not actively hated, by the residents of the small town of River Bend, Illinois. His treatment of ex-wife Delilah, and new, much younger wife Shotsie leaves a lot to be desired. He wants nothing to do with his and Delilah’s two sons and refuses to pay alimony. He’s miserly and penny-pinching despite being quite well off. Grone’s next door neighbour, Felicity Timmons, bears the brunt of his boorish behaviour and harassment. He’s also coming under fire from most of the residents for selling land, which was promised to the townspeople, to developers who want to build a water park.

When Grone is found dead, from what first appears to be a heart attack but which after the autopsy is believed to be murder, the suspects are plentiful. Unfortunately for Sheriff Frank Biddle they all seem to have an alibi in the form of the town hall meeting.

He’d barely taken a bite of the cold meat loaf when he heard a noise beyond the window, like a critter prowling in the trash. “Damned old woman’s cat,” he muttered, and picked up his shotgun. Felicity Timmons caused him hell enough without his having to put up with that furry beast of hers making a mess of his garbage……

He cocked his gun with a click. He heard the noise again and hesitated. Sure didn’t sound like a cat; it seemed bigger than that. Were those footsteps coming up behind him? He spun around in time to see the shadow that lunged at him, but only that. His gun fell from his hands to the ground, going off as it hit the dirt.

WhoKilledMiltonGroneHelen Evans, good friend of Felicity Timmons, decides to sift through all the clues and potential suspects when Felicity herself is questioned by the Sheriff. This proves to be anything but simple, even the Preacher is not without cause.

Really good, detailed descriptions of the eccentric and likeable characters, and River Bend itself, give a good visual for the story. Helen is a mature lady who likes solving puzzles, although this particular puzzle is not quite what she’s used to. She’s self effacing but takes in everything around her and somehow, quietly manages to be involved in developments.

The story is woven together well, with lots of diversions and misleading clues. An easy, witty and very enjoyable cozy mystery, narrated extremely well by Joyce Bean.

Book links ~ Amazon US Amazon UK

About the author

SusanMcBrideSusan McBride is the USA Today Bestselling author of Blue Blood and four other award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries from HarperCollins/Avon, including The Good Girl’s Guide To Murder, The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club, Night Of The Living Deb, and Too Pretty To Die. A sixth title, Say Yes to the Death, will be out on September 29, 2015. Susan has a second series with Avon, the River Road Mysteries, that include To Helen Back, Mad as Helen, and Not a Chance in Helen. Susan’s first young adult thriller, Very Bad Things, debuted in hardcover from Delacorte Press in 2014.

In addition to her mysteries, Susan has penned three well-received women’s fiction titles from HarperCollins: The Truth About Love & Lightning, Little Black Dress, and The Cougar Club. Foreign editions of Susan’s books have been published in France, Turkey, Croatia, and Bulgaria.

Susan has one nonfiction title: In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Man, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After 40, which tells her tale of becoming an “accidental Cougar” and marrying a younger man, her cancer diagnosis at age 42, and finding herself pregnant at 47.

She has authored several YA non-mystery novels for Delacorte about debutantes in Houston: The Debs (2008) and Love, Lies, And Texas Dips (2009). Gloves Off, the third book, should be out in 2015.

In January of 2012, Susan was named one of St. Louis’s “Most Dynamic People of the Year” by the Ladue News. In April of 2012, she was given the “Survivor of the Year” Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. As Susan likes to say, “Life is never boring.”

Author links ~ Goodreads, Website, Facebook, YouTube

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