Poison at the PTA (PTA Mystery Series #5)

Poison at the PTA (PTA Mystery Series #5)

by Laura Alden

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As the Tarver Elementary School PTA president, Beth Kennedy is always on the go—especially when someone puts murder on the agenda.
Beth has been running nonstop to be the best PTA president, bookstore owner, and single parent ever, which is why her friend Marina is staging an intervention. Beth needs to take a break—and that means letting someone else organize the PTA’s upcoming eightieth-anniversary event.
But when Cookie Van Doorne, one of the event speakers, dies of suspicious causes, Beth decides to make an intervention of her own to find out what happened. When she discovers that Cookie was poisoned, the next order of business is catching a killer whose break is almost over.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451415073
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/04/2014
Series: PTA Mystery Series , #5
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 529,717
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Laura Alden's debut novel, Murder at the PTA, was an Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel. She continued the series with Foul Play at the PTA, Plotting at the PTA, and Poison at the PTA.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Beth Kennedy gives amateur sleuths a good name.…For those of us who appreciate good characters, it’s just as satisfying as her first book.”—Lesa’s Book Critiques

“Alden has strong talent and a well-skilled use of language that brings the story alive and gives vitality to each character.”—Fresh Fiction

"Just wish I wouldn’t have to wait so long to read the next in the series.”—MyShelf.com

Customer Reviews

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Poison at the PTA 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Beth finds it hard to say no to anything. Running her bookstore, being a single parent, and PTA president fills most of her time but now she has added organizing the anniversary event for the PTA. Her friends see she has taken on too much and stage an intervention. From taking over meals to organizing the PTA event, they are taking over to give her a much needed break. She has a hard time accepting it but finally agrees to their plans. She has a little extra time for herself until one of the event speakers dies a few days after the program. Beth then finds herself intervening in the suspicious death investigation. Poison is found to be the murder weapon and Beth hopes to break the case before her little break from her full life ends. I knew when I started this book it was the final book in the series, something the author didn’t know when writing it. It is set in Wisconsin and I really enjoyed the other books in the series and for the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t read it right when it came out. A recent To-Be-Read Shelf reorganization unearthed it along with a few others I will need to read soon. In this installment the author uses a poison each of us probably has in our homes right now, Acetaminophen. I had no idea how easy it would be to overdose on this over the counter drug. In fact because the drug is so common, suicide is even debated before the death was classified as a murder. Yes, that trigger for me again, but I knew there had to be more to the story so I plunged right on. I was not disappointed and the prospect of using something so common meant anyone could be a suspect. I love these characters because they are so real, they remind me of people I know. They have families and common struggles and shared joys. They don’t always get along. They have their ups and their downs. And they come together to help when a friend needs them most, like they did for Beth. True friendships, a real small town feeling. The story is set in Rynwood, Wisconsin, a small town outside the capital of Madison, very much like my hometown. Beth has two children and they both have typical things happening in their lives and Beth handles both in a very common sense way eventually. Parenting is hard work and the answers are not always glaring you write in the face. I knew exactly what she was feeling after raising 4 kids of my own with very similar issues. I think the reason I loved this series so much as it reminded me of my own life, without the murders, of course. Until my accident, I worked full time, my husband had a job where his work hours shifted every two weeks, so I felt like a single parent much of the time. I was involved with everything going on at the school, again 4 kids, each doing their own thing, all in a town of about 1000 people. It is sad that this is my last escape to Rynwood and it is hard to say goodbye to Beth, Marina, Jenna, Oliver, Lois, Flossie and Paoze, but I know the author has moved on to other stories. Stories that I have and will enjoy in the future. She did finish the series out with a PERFECT ESCAPE!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the books in this series and am anxious for the next one to come out. The characters are very likeable and easy to relate to. Highly recommend this series.
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
Laura Alden brings readers the fifth book in her Beth Kennedy series featuring the mother of all school organizations... the PTA. Poison at the PTA features the 80'th anniversary of the PTA and a murder, via Tylenol? Well maybe not exactly, but you get the idea. Alden has a way with characters that is rare in cozy fiction. She is able to make the reader see into the heart of her characters by showing them in their everyday life, at their best and worst. Readers who are looking for a book that celebrates not only sleuthing but what it means to be a single mom, a business owner and way too curious will appreciate Poison at the PTA. What I liked: Popped any Tylenol lately? Who knew that Acetaminophen could be so dangerous. Obviously Laura Alden did! And cozy readers are going to be glad. Poison is one of those things that readers who read cozies tend to see a lot. There are certainly some exotic ways to die floating around the cozy genre. Death by avalanche or something like that might sound more interesting than death by poison by not necessarily. Poison is such a subtle thing, very unassuming. It's death from a far, a whole lot less personal any just about anybody could do it. I thought it was a great way to go in this book and Alden did a great job with it, even if it took her 14 years to use it! (wink). Beth is my hero! She is great character for so many reasons. Like me, she's a single mom. She has two kids in middle school, a full time job, plus she takes the time to be very involved in her children's school by being PTA president. That is not something that is easy to pull off. No wonder she needed a break, and it's not surprising she got sucked right back in... such is the life of a mom! I have always liked the fact that Alden choose to make Beth the kind of person she is. Driven to be the best she can be. She's also too curious for her own good, not unlike most amateur sleuths. Just an all around great character. In this one Beth is full up to her eyeballs with kids, work, and the PTA. The 80th anniversary of the Parent Teacher Association is coming up and Beth wants everything to go just right. However, when one of the speakers ends up dead, it becomes more important to figure out whodunit. The mystery in this one was probably my favorite of the series so far, very well developed and full of surprises. As I said before I loved the death by Acetaminophen theme, and trying to figure out who would or could pull it off was an adventure. I'm not afraid to admit that this one had me bum-fuzzled.  What I didn't like: I was a little perplexed by the intervention of sorts that Beth's friends concocted in order to get her to take some much needed time off. They made a big deal out of it and did Beth really rest? Nope, not a chance. I guess I thought that part was a little unnecessary. Not that it took anything away from the book, it just didn't really add anything either. Bottom Line: This one has a great theme. The characters as usual are realistic and believable. Beth is a super-mom and a great PTA pres! Give this one a try I think you'll be very glad you did...
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Poison At The PTA is the fifth book in the PTA series. Beth has been going seven ways from Sunday. Being a single mother of two middle school children, running her children bookstore and trying to the best ever PTA president, her friends can see where it is taking its toll. Her BFF, Mariana along with some other close friends stage an intervention. For a few days are going fine, she feels more relaxed and has gotten to spend some quality time with her daughter and son. But then it is time for the PTA in Review representing the 80 years for the organization. After the program is completed the members begin discussing how funds that the organization has raised becomes rather heated. The members are split between spending the monies on sport or on the arts. Then Cookie Van Doorne becomes ill, Beth steps up and offers to drive home. On the way, Cookie makes a couple comments that Beth isn't sure what was meant by them. A couple days later Cookie is dead, from poisoning. Then when Beth gets a letter from Cookie, mailed after she died and a package of various items, she knows she has to forget about her intervention and start one of her own. Always fun to visit with the resident s of Rynwood, WI. A nicely developed story, with an interesting cast of characters. I will be watching for the next book in the series.