Death by Diploma (Chalkboard Outlines #1) by Kelley Kaye – 99p on Amazon 18th December

Published by Red Adept Publishing


Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.


This book was introduced to me by the author as a cosy mystery and that is precisely what it is! It gave me the cosy nostalgic feeling of reading a Miss Marple novel, but with a contemporary twist.

I’m not going to go into detail about the plot, it is a mystery novel after all! I can tell you that the story is set in a school and you can instantly tell that the author has been a school teacher, it feels authentic and is completely enjoyable.

What stood out the most for me about this book were the characters. Though they were comically exaggerated in some aspects, they still completely won my sympathies and interest – my favourite characters actually come as a twosome. Emma and Leslie, to whom I shall henceforth refer to as Lemma, are hilarious. Leslie is a seasoned teacher with a strong moral code, access to tasers and is able to quote Shakespeare to suit any occasion. Emma is a bit more reserved as this is her first job as a teacher but together, they bounce off each other marvellously – they balance each other out and pick up each other’s best qualities along the way. Emma becomes more confident and adventurous while Leslie becomes more careful and

Together, Lemma uncover some of the secrets of their colleagues while they work to solve the murder of the beloved school custodian. It is this friendship that makes the book stand out, it’s utterly charming in the manner of Rosemary and Thyme (my favouritest gardening sleuth duo of all time). It’s rare that you read a novel with two female lead characters who aren’t constantly talking about men/relationships and this one shows the realism of actual female friendships. Yes, they do hate on their exes together and talk about ‘boys’, but they also manage the terrifying workloads of active teachers and solve murders on their time off.

The pacing and suspense in this story was perfect, clues were dropped in at the perfect intervals to avoid frustration from working it all out too quickly or not being able to figure it out until the last page (both of those things drive me insane).
The writing was a perfect mix of suspenseful danger and witty humour, it was the dialogue between characters sucked me in to the story and will have me reading any subsequent books in this series.

If you’re a fan of cosy mysteries and irreverent humour, I would say this is the book for you – put on your comfiest clothes, climb under your duvet with a cuppa and dig in!

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