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Publisher's Summary

It's 1974 and Ellison Russell's life revolves around her daughter and her art. She's long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper's death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband's proclivities and his crimes - kinky sex, petty cruelties, and blackmail. As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?

©2015 Julie Mulhern (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

" The Deep End is an enjoyable, frequently amusing mystery with a mixture of off-beat characters that create twists and turns...A fine start to this mystery series, one that is highly recommended." ( Mysterious Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Marginally Less Bland Nancy Drew

It’s definitely a whodunit with all the trappings of a classic Nancy Drew book: handsome men who are all inexplicably drawn to the main character for the sake of creating romantic tension and privileged backgrounds run amok. I like Nancy Drew but the description for this book promised me something else (something clever).

I can’t say I’d recommend it but it was nice not having to think too hard or at all. The beginning really hooks you, but around three-quarters of the way through waffles around with a lot of angst (like three chapters worth) and forced character growth on Ellison’s part via insufferable internal dialogue. All the characters have the depth of cardboard, with Ellison being the cardboard box her designer clothes come in. The mystery seemed a little obvious after a certain point and the conclusion seemed a little ad-hoc. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind reading more from the author with this expectation in mind. File it under “guilty pleasures”.

This story has countless cliches of the country club mother portrayal, the grown daddy’s girl, and the incredibly judge-y portrayal of sex/sex workers. If you can get through the protagonist’s loathing of a country club lifestyle she still clearly embraces via designer clothes that are mentioned for no real reason, go for it. Audio book was a good format for this as my eyes were rolling so hard I probably couldn’t have read it anyway.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Better Than I Expected

I wasn't sure I would like a book set in the 70s. I was wrong. Other than a few references to Nixon and the noticeable lack of a cellphone, the reader has no idea of the story's time period. Once I got over that, I was left with a realistic, well crafted mystery with lots of suspects, twists and turns and engaging characters. I will definitely read the next book in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Donna
  • Rockville, MD, United States
  • 05-07-18

Pure enjoyment

Magnificent. We really loved the book. Ms. Mulhern's book definitely keeps you guessing who did it right to the same moment when Ellison figures out. Ms. Beaulieu is an outstanding narrator and I truly enjoy her. She conveyed each person perfectly to the point I can actually picture the expression and gestures of each character. I can't wait to start the next book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ellison thinks she's smart, but really, not so muc

Would you try another book from Julie Mulhern and/or Callie Beaulieu?

No.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Ellison would be more realistic about the seriousness of her situation, and more honest with the police to protect her daughter

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes.

Do you think The Deep End needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No,

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Couldn't stop listening

Loved it great job!!!! Did not expect the ending at all. Keep up the great writing

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Not of value

don't waste time or money. I have no interest in this type of book. really.

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  • John S.
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 08-17-17

Great narration

I was a teenager in an upper middle class household (New Jersey, not Kansas City) at the time this was set, and this is not the first time I'm going to say that an author has gotten "old money" wrong. From my experience the folks described seem more "new" money than "old", although I suppose writers can emphasize things for effect. Moreover, there aren't that many dowager dragons terrifying their offspring. I suspended disbelief, and moved on, while reading the story.

Not sure how old the author might be, but in 1974 I doubt there were S&M clubs about, certainly not ones with their own matchbooks (to be awkwardly discovered). In Kansas City, I'd think such a club, if it'd existed, would've been a bit more . . . under the radar. That aspect failed for me, but maybe I'm picky, or jaded?

Another reviewer said she got nothing Kansas City out of it ("could've been anywhere really"), which seems fair to me. Moreover, aside from no internet nor mobile phones, the occasional 70s references seemed forced, with one of them (I forget exactly which) I swore was after 1974. Sue Grafton's alphabet series does a much more natural job of a setting a decade later.

I liked that she was proud to have an openly gay best friend at the time (stereotypical though he was), as well as Ellison's being funny often enough. Her new housekeeper Aggie sounds a hoot, definitely a reason to keep reading! The love triangle thing gets old fast, but I can live with it.

Not sorry I read it, and will try the next one.

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What a delightful, twisty ride!

Loved this one. I'm hooked now and am looking forward to more from this author.

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Great

Excellent story, loved all of the nostalgic 1970's touches. The narrator was perfect! :) highly recommend!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

So much fun

This book was delightful. Fun, interesting story, vivid characters and a perfect narrator. Well worth the purchase.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • IAN
  • 06-30-17

Loved this fun and funny new series.

Tripping back to the past, to the early 70's in this new mystery series.

For the Kansas City's well heeled gentry, membership to the Country Club is part of the norm. Where gossip is past over coffee or cocktails and no past is ever a secret!

It's 1974, and when Ellison Russell's early morning swim in the Country Club pool is cut short with the discovery of Madeline Harper's dead body floating in the pool. Ellison's life is turned upside down.

Madeline was Ellison's husband Henry's mistress (one among many). Not that it bother Ellison, as she had given up on her marriage some time ago. Her major concerns are her daughter and her art.

But Madeline's murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.

With the body count going up, Ellison need to finds the answers before the killer sends her to permanent slumber!

Loved this fun and funny new series. With a great set of characters, well plotted and written. This series is not to be missed!

Callie Beaulieu gives a excellent narration in this the first book in the Country Club Murders.

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  • Leycesteria, Surrey
  • 03-22-17

A whodunnit!

Once I had assimilated the accent I was away. Callie's voice and diction are good, and the dialogue is entertaining. The story is an interesting thumbnail of how the other half live in well to do parts of America. The love/sex interest is provoking, and the story weaves comfortably through the 'heroine's' mental dialogue - it is dramatic and realistic without being horrifying or gut wrenching. I'm looking forward to book two.