Let me start by being very clear: I have never seen the TV show Glee, and I can’t imagine any circumstances in which I ever will. It just doesn’t hold any interest for me. And I don’t read a ton of “cozy” mysteries; I prefer some gore in a story.
And yet, I really enjoyed MURDER FOR CHOIR.
MURDER FOR CHOIR’s heroine, Paige Marshall, is a talented opera singer who, though no fault of her own, is back in her hometown Chicago suburbs residing with her Aunt Millie and coaching the show choir at Prospect Glen High School.
If you, like me, are not a Glee-watcher and have no idea what a show choir is, watch this.
Into this pastel-colored existence comes…a murder! Dead animals! The scariest poodle on the planet! A pink car! Breaking and entering! Costumes! A gay dude who might not be gay! Snotty kids who might—or might not—not be murderers!
Well, see, that’s the fun of MURDER FOR CHOIR. It’s not exactly what you might expect. Is it realistic? Nah, not really. Is it going to give you nightmares? Only if you have seriously deep-set issues, likely requiring medication. MURDER FOR CHOIR is a super fun read. Heck, it’s even a little informative for us non-Glee-ites—and given Joelle’s personal history, I have no doubt that each detail is 110% accurate.
I can’t really compare MURDER FOR CHOIR to other books in the cozy sub-genre because, as mentioned, I don’t read a whole ton of them. But I can tell you this: This is a fun story, with characters that are deeper than one might expect and about whom you might be surprised to find yourself caring so much. I read this book several months ago, and not a week has gone by since that I haven’t seen something that reminded me of Paige, Aunt Millie, or one of the wacky cast of characters running through  MURDER FOR CHOIR.
Joelle Charbonneau paints these folks in bright colors, and with a sharp brush. The result is that readers will see themselves in some (or, for the multi-personality-inclined, all) of them. For example: I was a kid when Elvis Presley died, and I was certain beyond any doubt that he had been murdered. I mean, a famous dude could not possibly die from peanut butter sandwiches (hey, I was a kid). So just in case the murderer showed up at my house, I started putting fingerprint powder (aka, the dust from the pencil sharpener) on all the windowsills.
My point? Who among us has not fancied ourselves a detective at some time? In MURDER FOR CHOIR, Paige takes things just a little further, detecting beyond her—and everyone else’s—comfort zone. In so doing, she becomes an everywoman hero, one I was rooting for all the way.

Author’s website: www.joellecharbonneau.com

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