While accidently slipping down an ice-covered side street in Lake Tahoe in February, Maggie discovers a dead body literally Snowed Under the recent blizzard’s wrath. It’s the neighbor’s long-missing husband. With her best friend’s help, Maggie investigates all the neighbors for means, motive, and opportunity in a snowy cocoon of suspects.
Maggie is a professional organizer who is helping her best friend Tess declutter her family’s vacation home. With Tess’ husband deceased, Tess is thinking of selling the second home for funds to make a career change for herself and pay for college for her son, Teddy. But when a neighbor’s corpse is found in their snowy cul-de-sac, the clean-up must take a backseat to a murder investigation.
The snowy and remote setting reminds me of the best golden-age mysteries where a group of people are stranded in one place and one of them is a murderer, gwah ha ha ha! You can almost feel the cold winds coming through your kindle. At the same time I am enjoying the fictional cold weather, I am also patting myself on the back for living in an area where real snow is rarely present.
I enjoyed meeting the main characters, Maggie and Tess, but especially their dogs, Belle and Mozart. They felt very genuine with realistic motives for their actions.
The mystery was a challenge to unravel. After living within a housing association tract, I was so hoping that Tess’ association president, Elisabeth, was the murderer. But there are a lot of suspects with even better motivations for murder than Elisabeth.
Overall, Snowed Under is a perfect book to cool you down on a hot summer’s day. 4 stars!
Thanks to Lyrical Press, Kensington Books, Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
- Hi, Maggie. I know you’re a professional organizer. I’m curious how you selected that occupation. Are you naturally neat? Is there a way to train for that career?
Thanks so much for allowing me to visit today. I love to talk about my job. Everyone seems to think that those in my profession are super-heroes of stuff. We’re not. Our careers would be easier if, like Mary Poppins, we could sing and point at toys until they marched themselves back into their cupboards.
I’ve always been a bit scattered. I’m your friend who can never find her keys. I cope by looking for ways to keep things more organized. I find life less stressful when it’s got a little structure to it.
One way to train for a career as a professional organizer is to join NAPO, the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals. Their website is a great place to find an organizer if you need one and to take courses leading to certification in various specialties. Some organizers focus their work on offices. Others work with people with various disabilities. Some focus on the special needs of those going through major changes like death, divorce, or a move.
- There is an old saying, “the shoemaker’s children go barefoot” meaning after working all day at a job, you don’t want to come home and spend all evening doing the same task for yourself. How organized is your house? How about your life?
The first time I went to an organizing conference, I told my colleagues about my plan to start my business from a room in my home. “Wouldn’t that be efficient?” I asked. “Clients could come to my house.”
They all laughed and reminded me that we don’t get paid for organizing our own space. We may be organizers, but we’re also realistic. We know that kids, careers, and life create chaos that, within reason, should be celebrated and enjoyed. Our goal is not to completely rein in clutter. That way lies madness.
For example, my family always left their towels on the floor or draped over a doorknob. My near-sighted husband finds it hard to thread the towel through between the hanging bar and the wall when he’s not wearing his contacts. (Towels have grown thicker over the past few decades but towel bars are still the same distance from the wall.) I installed lots of hooks instead. Problem solved.
- When organizing someone’s belongings, you suggest making four piles: garbage, recycling, donate, and keep. How do you decide what to keep? Are you following the “does it bring me joy” philosophy? What about workhorse items like black pants? They don’t make me particularly joyful but they are an easy wardrobe choice on Monday mornings.
No offense to Marie Kondo, but the joy thing doesn’t seem very useful to me. Hammers, plungers, hangers, and toilet paper don’t bring me joy, but they’re essential tools. Part of my job is to simplify decluttering and prevent recluttering. Chopping belongings into four categories is plenty. I don’t try to fine-tune the “keep” pile. In the end, my client has gotten rid of a whole bunch of useless, outgrown, or broken items, leaving the treasures most important to them. I can work with that. I can organize that. It’s enough.
- I recently bought underbed storage boxes and large plastic bags to organize my clothes closet. They are still sitting in the living room gathering dust. Do you have any motivating advice for how to begin a decluttering job?
There is lots of advice out there. Not all of it will apply to the way you tackle a task. For some people, doing it one box at a time is useful. For others, a total take-over weekend is best. If you can afford it, there’s nothing faster and more efficient than hiring a skilled organizer that will tailor her tricks to your goals and personality.
- First, your best friend’s husband is murdered. Then, her neighbor’s husband is found dead too. Is your husband, Max, worried he will be next?
If you asked Max that question, he would lean back in his chair, tip his reading glasses down, peer over them, and say, “You know statistics don’t work that way, right?” But that’s Max. Everyone in Orchard View, Midsomer County, or Three Pines fears the “Cabot Cove Effect.” If you live in one of the cozy pastoral communities that dot the mystery fiction landscape, you have one of several roles:
- Dead body
- Side-kick/Sounding board
Max knows why I keep him around and why Mary Feliz keeps including him in our story. He knows he’s secure—even in a world in which statistics don’t always work the way they do in real life.
About Snowed Under
Snowed Under (A Maggie McDonald Mystery)
6th in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (June 9, 2020)
Digital ASIN: B07WBY669T
When professional organizer Maggie McDonald finds a body in a snowdrift outside her friend’s ski cabin, she must plow through the clues to find a cold-blooded killer . . .
Lake Tahoe in February is beautiful, but Maggie can’t see a thing as she drives through a blinding blizzard with her friend Tess Olmos and their dogs, golden retriever Belle and German shepherd Mozart.Maggie has offered her professional decluttering skills to help Tess tidy up her late husband’s cabin in preparation to sell. She also plans to get in some skiing when her husband Max and their boys join them later in the week.
What she doesn’t plan on is finding a boot in a snowdrift attached to a corpse. The frozen stiff turns out to be Tess’s neighbor, Dev Bailey, who disappeared two months ago. His widow Leslie expresses grief, but Maggie can’t help but wonder if it’s a snow job. As more suspects start to pile up, things go downhill fast, and Maggie must keep her cool to solve the murder before the killer takes a powder . . .
About Mary Feliz
Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust.
June 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
June 9 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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