Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eternally 21 by Linda Joffe Hull

Author: Linda Joffe Hull
Title: Eternally 21
Publication: June 8, 2013
Publisher: Mira Ink
Genre: Adult Mystery
Source: Publisher

About the Book
Coupon-clipping Mrs. Frugalicious gets more than she bargained for

After Mr. Frank "Finance" Michaels loses the family's financial nest egg in a Ponzi scheme, his wife Maddie does whatever she can to help keep up the appearance that everything is financially fine. When she starts a bargain hunter's blog under the alias Mrs. Frugalicious, her website becomes a viral hit with a growing "frugarmy" of budget advice seekers.

While Maddie is researching "frugasm"-worthy deals on holiday shopping for teens, Eternally 21 store manager Laila DeSimone mistakenly accuses her of shoplifting. Then her day goes from bad to worse when Laila expires on the floor. Since Laila was a universally disliked manager, the murder suspect list is longer than Maddie's bargain spreadsheet. But when evidence points to Maddie as the prime suspect, she must track down the real culprit. Can she uncover the truth before police throw away her get-out-of-jail-free coupon for good?

Includes bargain shopping tips & techniques. Find more money-saving advice at!

Maddie in the aftermath of the devastating news about her family's financial situation after her husband Mr. Finance himself makes a bad investment. In order to keep up the appearance of their lush life she decides to become a couponista and sets up her own couponing blog secretly under the name Mrs.Frugalicious. One day at the mall she decides to shop at Eternally 21 to buy some inexpensive Christmas gifts for teens and finds herself wrongly accused of shoplifting by the store manager Laila DeSimone. What happens to be a mistake spirals into a whole new world of trouble and revelations for Maddie, especially when she finds herself in the center of the investigation. She has taken on the role of detective hoping to speed along the process, so her husband won't find out she's involved and to not draw unwanted attention that would hinder a deal that could get her family out of their financial hole. However, the more she learns, the more unknown danger she puts herself in. With the help of a circus monkey and mall cop Griff, can this savvy saver connect the dots before time runs out?

Maddie is funny and a take charge kind of woman except where her husband's concerned. This is what got in her into this predicament, if he wasn’t trying to keep up his false image, she wouldn’t be scrambling and scrapping to make ends meet. He doesn't seem very grateful for what she's doing. I know firsthand that couponing takes loads of planning and work. So, I tried, stopped and maybe need to start again. There are little hints and tips throughout in the form of blog post entries and footnotes. The best part is the mystery, which I can honestly say I didn't know who the killer was until the very end and wasn't expecting that at all. So many people hated Laila in that mall, so Maddie's suspect list is long and hard to narrow down, especially when her co-detective Griff believes most of them are innocent. Maddie's is also feeling uncertain about her husband's fidelity, afraid that he might trade her in for his lovely co-worker Anastasia. Frank is superficial and I don't like him very much especially during the moment that Maddie needed him to have faith in her the most. Let's just say he gets a taste of his own medicine and believe me it's hilarious. I think the writing is good and the characters are entertaining though I feel like I got to know Maddie and Griff the most. I'm looking forward to the next adventure for Mrs. Frugalicious.

About the Author

Linda Joffe Hull is on the national board of the Mystery Writers of America, and is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Hull is the author of The Big Bang (Tyrus Books, 2012) and the Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery series (Midnight Ink). She earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. A native of St. Louis, Hull now lives in Denver with her husband and three children. Visit her online at

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