Publication Date: July 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Shelia Connolly on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
The president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia, Nell Pratt, is sparked into action when someone is electrocuted at a colleague's children's museum...
When Nell is invited to the beloved Philadelphia children's museum, Let's Play, for a sneak preview of a newly installed exhibit based on the Harriet the Hedgehog book series, she's in for quite a shock. In the middle of her visit, one of the installer's gets a severe jolt from working on an electronically animated forest creature.
He recovers, but when a second man gets zapped - this time fatally - it sparks a homicide investigation, with Nell right in the middle of things. Is someone out to sabotage the exhibition, or to discredit the museum president, Arabella Hefferman? Even with the help of her potential beau, FBI Special Agent James Morrison, it's ultimately up to Nell to channel her energy into finding the killer - before she gets burned herself...
Shelia Connolly's latest book in the Museum Mystery series, Let's Play Dead is an entertaining look into the world of running a museum, as well as, a good whodunit. Connolly fans are used to her sharp wit and great plot twists and Let's Play Dead doesn't disappoint in either area. Connolly's book isn't as heavy as mainstream mysteries, but still packs a great punch as Nell Pratt, museum president tries to find out who is willing to kill to sabotage the local children's museum's latest exhibit.
Nell Pratt has recently become the president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society moving up from her position as fund-raiser. Now she has to find someone to take over her old job as well as a new assistant. In the middle of trying to fill these positions Nell is given the opportunity to attend a sneak peek of her friend Arabella Hefferman's latest exhibit at the children's museum, Let's Play. The exhibit is based on a popular series of books called Harriet the Hedgehog and features interactive characters like Willie the Weasel. When an installer is severely shocked Arabella charges her workers to make sure something like this can't happen again. But when another person is fatally shocked the museum's reputation is on the line. Nell takes it upon herself to help her friend find out who want to sabotage the museum before it's too late.
Shelia Connolly introduced readers to Nell Pratt in the first book in the Museum Mystery series, Fundraising the Dead. In the second book in the series, Let's Play Dead, Connolly continues to develop the series and the heroine. Connolly's descriptions of the every day running of a museum and what goes into making it run smoothly are amazing. She let's the reader have an insider's look into everything it takes to put on the exhibits without a hitch and some of the surprising things that can make or break the reputation of the museum. I thought this aspect of the book was very interesting and I believe it will peak the interest of readers who love history and museums in general, as well as mystery fans who are looking for unique and different settings for mysteries to take place.
There are lots of quirky and entertaining characters in this one. Nell is just a joy to read about. She is efficient and intelligent, but she also has a more playful side that is apparent in the way she deals with the people she works with and with her love interest, James. She is also very loyal and intuitive. Her friend Arabella's children's museum is in trouble. Who wants their children to play with an exhibit that has electrocuted someone more than once? If people are afraid of how the museum is maintained it will cause them to loose interest. I have been to a few museum's along the way and really enjoyed them, especially those that had interactive exhibits like the children's museum in this book, but I'm not sure I would let my kids go to a place that didn't seem safe. Being loyal to her friend Arabella, Nell has to help her find out what's going on, and she has a feeling that foal play is involved. Connolly allows the reader to get the feel for plot and then delves into the mystery.
As far as a whodunit goes, this one is probably not as exciting as some would want it to be, but it has a great premise and some interesting suspects. And of course there is that character that everyone dislikes. Connolly does a great job of setting up the mystery and even though it may be a little predictable in who the killer is, the motive is anything but expected. I was unprepared for the ending and I'm looking forward to seeing where Connolly goes from here with these characters. She leaves readers with a lot of potential for the next installment in the series. Connolly is an excellent writer, who is able to give readers characters and situations that are light, but still mysterious. The mark of a good cozy author!
Let's Play Dead is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published eight traditional mysteries. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.
She wrote her first mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime under the name Sarah Atwell, and the first book, Through a Glass, Deadly (March 2008), was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel; Pane of Death followed in November 2008, and Snake in the Glass in September 2009.
Under her own name, her Orchard Mystery Series (Berkley Prime Crime) debuted in 2008 with One Bad Apple. The sequel, Rotten to the Core, came out in July 2009, and the third book in the series, Red Delicious Death, was released in March 2010. A fourth book, A Killer Crop, came out in December 2010, and the next in the series, Bitter Harvest, will appear in August 2011.
And finally, she has launched a new series, the Museum Series (Berkley Prime Crime), set in the many museums of Philadelphia. Fundraising the Dead came out in October 2010, and the sequel, Let's Play Dead, will be published in July 2011.
She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats, as well as her poet-daughter who is thinking about going to graduate school any year now.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Let's Play Dead to one lucky winner from Debbie's Book Bag!
~ You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~ US addresses only (Publisher Request).
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST July 25th.
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