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Not According to Flan

The Dinner Club Murder Mysteries, Book 2
Narrated by: Ann Simmons
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Jane Marsh wants to shake off the empty-nest syndrome, plus the notoriety of the death of her first and second husbands, by starting over in a new place. She sells her family home to move to a far Northern suburb of Denver. At the same time, Jane's dinner club is undergoing a transformation, and a new man - a gourmet chef - enters her life. 

But things turn sour when on the day Jane moves into her new home, she discovers a dead body. She cannot feel at home in this town where she’s surrounded by cowboys, horse pastures, and suspects. Not to mention where a murder was committed practically on her doorstep. How can she focus on romance and dinner clubs when one of her new friends - or maybe even her old ones - might be a murderer?

©2017 Karen C. Whalen (P)2018 Karen C. Whalen

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Odd Main Character

I received this book for free. I am voluntarily leaving this review and all opinions expressed herein are my own.

This is the second book in the The Dinner Club Murder Mysteries. I have not read the first book in this series. It is essentially a stand alone story but there multiple references to events which likely occurred in the first book -- because of that and some questions which arose as I was reading this book, I would have like to have started with the first book but, it may not have made a difference with the problems I had with this book.

The story centers around Jane moving to a new home and new neighborhood. On the day she moves in, she discovers a body right by her home where there is construction occurring for new homes. She has no ties to the neighborhood, the victim, or the police but she lives there so she immediately decides that she will investigate the murder.

I really like cozy mysteries, which are essentially character driven. If you cannot relate, like or empathize with the main characters, the rest of the story just kind of crumbles. The writing here is good. However, the problems I had with this story center mostly around the main character Jane. The book repeatedly states that she had been married two times previously and both husbands died suspisciously. Jane was apparently considered a suspect but cleared. First, I don't know how these husbands died suspisciously nor do I know how Jane was cleared but this is odd -- two?? This sounds like a Dateline special. Second, she has friends who frequently bring up the murders of her husbands in a somewhat derogatory fashion. Why is she hanging out with these people? Third, she behaves oddly - she is so freaked out by the murder by her house that she immediately decides to put the house up for sale. [Sorry, I kept thinking that she was going to be hit hard by the capital gains taxes] But then she behaves in a wishy-washy fashion with the realtor, the offers on the house, removing the for sale sign and avoiding telling people she wants to sell. Why?? Fourth, she believes someone has broken into her home. She is initially bothered by it but when her friend calls, she forgets all about it. What?? If I thought someone had been in my home under suspiscious circumstances, that's all I would be thinking about and certainly I would tell my friend and likely call the police. When it happens a second time - just seriously. Fifth, she starts dating a chef. When he asks to spend the night, she says no. Then he just leaves - saying nothing. When Jane sees him again by accident - do they discuss the disappearing act? Nope, not a word. Just odd. Fifth, Jane starts a walking club through the HOA in her neighborhood. Weirdly, no one really seems to like each other but yet they keep showing up for this walking club. Again, why?? Finally, she doesn't solve the murder. This person was not even on her radar. Then, there's just a confession to wrap it all up. So, what was the point of everything? I will not be continuing this series.

The narrator, Ann Simmons, did a good job with the narration. It was clear with a good tone and you could easily follow the story/conversations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Cute cozy mystery, good narrator

Enjoyed listening to this book. It was a cute story about an empty nester widow who moves to a new house and discovers a body. From there the main character starts trying to solve the murder. There is a group of friends who return from the first book which I had not read. I think the story can stand on its own. However, insight into the cast of friends may have been beneficial. I have some peeves about the main character being nosy and trying to pump her new neighbors for clues. Also, she on occasion, was quite blunt and rude to those she suspected. I found that surprising based on the character's background. The aspect of her trying to solve a murder in a new community where she knows no one was difficult for me to embrace. Other than that, it was an enjoyable mystery. I like the 1940s parties they went to and the dinner party rapport of her friends..The hiking and activities were also interesting. I also liked having an older female sleuth dealing with dating and an empty household. I thought the narrator did a solid job. The voices and pacing were good. I requested and received a free copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What's for Dinner?

Not According to Flan, The Dinner Club Murder Mysteries, Book 2
: Karen C. Whalen

Book two in "The Dinner Club Murder Mysteries series." As I started listening to this I was sure that I had read it before. I liked the book. This is a clean story. There was plenty of mystery, drama, new friends, scary neighbors, and a new romance. Y only complaint is quite a few of the sir names were a bit over the top, no I don't expect everyone to be named Smith o Jones. I will look for book three in Audible.



The narration was well done. The characters were well portrayed. Ann Simmons brought this to life.



I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not Something You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Not According to Flan:The Dinner Club Murder Mysteries Book 2
Author: Karen C. Whalen
Narrator: Ann Simmons
Listening Time: 8 hours 4 minutes


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this honest review.

I always like to preface any reviews I give with this information.

I am a 68 year old female who has been an avid reader since I was around 10 or 11 years old.
I read primarily for pleasure.
I have a great many interests and do a lot of research for personal pleasure and knowledge as well.

This review is for the Audiobook version.

Review:

Our protagonist is Jane Marsh, a twice widowed mother of adult children who has just moved into a new suburb of Denver and immediately finds a dead person next door to her new home. She doesn't even get into her house before she finds the body. That is how quickly this story takes off.

Jane sees herself as what I would refer to as an "armchair detective" but only in the most loose sense of the word, (in my opinion).

This story has an interesting premise but sadly that is almost all I can say about it that is positive.

I knew who the murderer was within the first few chapters of the story. I just was not sure of the motive; however I soon figured that out as well.

This entire story is so immature. We have a supposedly mature woman who has been widowed twice and has grown children and yet she is someone who lacks a sense of self-actualization and self-worth and lets everyone push her around including her "friends". Jane has no real gumption but relies on others to make her feel good.

All the people in this story are very immature. As a matter of fact though out listening to this audiobook, I often likened it in my mind as how young people in Junior High, or Middle School would act among their peers; right down to her repeated "love, love, love" phrase that had me cringing the first time I heard it.

Jane's detecting skills are nil. She is nosy, tactless, intrusive, rude and thoughtless; and instead of doing some detecting, (despite her knowledge to check public records for facts), does not actually do any "detecting" but goes around gossiping with others and from that draws very faulty conclusions as to who might be the murderer.

Also her friend's husband Tom, who once worked as a policeman is very loose-lipped about what he does know about the actual case, which leads me to wonder about his being a former cop, the operative word being "former". You don't just divulge things that could impact an ongoing murder investigation, even to your wife's best friend.

This murder story lacks cohesion, and honestly is so full of holes a person could use it for a sieve. There is no real sense of mystery here, nor is there any suspense.

At one point in the story line when Jane is literally hanging from a cliff; her sense of survival is almost non-existent as she is too busy conversing with someone who is trying to kill her.
Honestly? If you are looking death in the face, are you really going to be telling someone, "I never suspected it was you"? I think not!

This story was very unrealistic and I had to force myself to finish listening to it, however I did since I did not feel that I could give an honest review otherwise.

Author Karen C Whelan might be a good writer, in the future. In my opinion she needs to scrap the body of the book and rewrite it more realistically, and develop all her characters more deeply. These were cardboard, unrealistic characters who seemed to react from a negative aspect and very few had any real personality.

The one thing I did really love about her story is that her dogs were named after the married couple in the old "Thin Man" movies, Nick and Nora Charles. That was a very witty thing to do.

Narrator Ann Simmons was someone whose voice acting was very hard to listen to. While she has a good grasp of different gender voices, and a nice range; her entire performance stuck me as someone who was bored with performing the narration. Her performance was very lacklustre and it was as if she was not engaged in what she was doing. There was no sense of vitality in her voice.

All in all I was very disappointed in this entire story. As to who might enjoy this story, perhaps someone in Junior High or Middle School.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Food Fest!

This is book two of a series, but any past references are filled in so you aren't in the dark and the current book is complete within itself. Our heroine is a capable woman with adult children, twice widowed under unusual circumstances, with a good job as a paralegal and wonderful friends, especially in her Dinner Club group. She also suffers a bit from tunnel vision and a singular lack of subtlety approaching people whom she wishes to question, ignoring those who suggest she leave it to the professional . . . Wow! Guess this is a cozy mystery! I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Colorado's great outdoors and some of the available activities such as hiking, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing. And very subtle digs are gotten in about new development in pristine areas with immense and splendid views--with each new house blocking those views for its neighbors. Excellent narration kept me listening when I should have been doing other things.

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  • Beatrice
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 03-23-19

2 stars

This will be my last book in this series. Jane is a lonely, insecure, busybody with a dull personality. She has no reason to get involved and pushes people away with intrusive questions. Then, she has the gall to be shocked that she has no friends. I did finish the book because I had nothing else at the time, but I skipped ahead alot.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Mixed feelings.

Jane is a empty nester who buys a new property in a new development in an attempt to reinvent herself. Widowed twice under mysterious circumstances Jane is familiar with death, however on move in day she becomes more familiar than she had expected in her new sanctuary. Although the book kept my attention, I found myself figuring it out with hours still to go. I also had some problems with some of the characters and their behaviors. Jane is rude and nosey but not really in an oddball charming way but in a nobody would actually do that kind of way. Also she is kind of stupid at times.. She is very obvious and blunt with her suspects instead of trying to charm them. Some of the others characters reactions are also somewhat exaggerated. The two that got me were a realtor losing her temper and a new guy completely blowing his top after only a few dates because she didn't want him sleeping over. Seemed a bit extreme to me. That being said, I did enjoy the description of the scenery and the outdoor aspects as well as the idea of the neighborhood. Her relationships with her friends and family was well as the dinner parties had was enjoyable, and made me hungry. A little bit of a Christian undertone but it wasn't preachy. Narration was nicely done. I would probably try one more in the series before making a decision about the series overall. I received a free review copy of this book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book

This was a good book. Kept me guessing who the murderer was. This was the first book in this series i have listened too. I do look forward to more. The narrator did a great job. I was gifted this book at my request in exchange for an honest review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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A fun cozy mystery.......

Not According to Flan is the second book in this cozy mystery series. Although I could definitely tell that I was missing some of the background from the first book in the series, the author did a good job of making this a potentially standalone book. This book feature Jane, a paralegal in Denver, who moves into a new house in the suburbs and discovers a dead body across the street from her new house while unpacking. Thus begins Jane's hunt for the killer in order to feel safe in her new home. She is joined in her snooping by her fellow dinner club members, friends, family and a new love interest. The author used foreshadowing well, and I started to guess the guilty party around 3/4 through the book. However, the author threw in a surprise twist at the end that I didn't see coming. Overall, this was a fun and satisfying mystery read.

Ann Simmons does a great job with the narration. She has a very smooth and pleasant voice, and she used the perfect tone and emotion level for every scene in the story. I would definitely listen to another book narrated by Simmons in the future.

I received a copy of this audiobook at my request in exchange for this honest review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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A cozy mystery with a twist

This is a cozy mystery about Jane, who is an empty nester that just bought a new home when she finds a dead body. From there the mystery begins to unravel as to who did it, and Jane starts to question if this move was the right decision for her. However, what sets this cozy apart from others is that Jane is a widow, with 2 dead husbands to account for. And, she was a suspect in both of their deaths. This makes the story much more interesting because the whole time you wonder if Jane herself really is guilty of the new murders as well... The narration is well done, and the story has a good pace with plenty of intrigue!
I was gifted this audio book and have given my honest review