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The Cluttered Corpse by Mary Jane Maffini
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The Cluttered Corpse

by Mary Jane Maffini

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132591,104 (3.39)5

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I didn't enjoy this book as much as others in the series. Mostly because Charlotte seems to excel in being TSTL (too stupid to live) in this one. She is really pushing the envelope here, butting into a police investigation over and over and over again. She is warned by the cops, by friends, by her lawyer friend and just seems to go blithely forward without a care. This, of course, leads to getting people hurt and in the end she is totally wrong about almost everything.

I'll try the next in the series but if this trend continues, I'll not go any further. ( )
  bookswoman | Mar 31, 2013 |
First Line: "You have saved my life."

When professional organizer Charlotte Adams steps into Emmy Lou Rheinbeck's home, the place looks fit to be featured in House Beautiful. Where's the mess that needs to be organized? When Emmy Lou shows Charlotte the second floor, Charlotte understands the reason for the call for help-- she's never seen so many stuffed animals in one place in her life.

Charlotte knows that she can handle this organizational problem, but she's not so sure Emmy Lou can handle her neighbors. Two young men are pulling cruel jokes on the woman until she's a nervous wreck. Emmy Lou insists that the pranksters are harmless, but before Charlotte can even put her plan to paper, she's up to her neck in a murder.

Two books in, and I like this series very much. One note of realism that I particularly appreciate is the fact that, after the first book, Charlotte makes it clear in The Cluttered Corpse that she lost a lot of business when the news media reported her involvement in a murder case. Most other series that feature an independent businessperson like Charlotte would have you think that business blithely goes on as usual, with nary a dip in clientele.

(As a side note, I have a thing for organization and places like The Container Store. I do hope in at least one future book, Charlotte gets to finish the project for which she was hired. I really enjoy that part of the books! I also pay attention to the organizing tips at the beginning of each chapter. My favorite in this book? "Don't bring anything new into your home unless you know you have a place to keep it. Except for books, of course.")

To get back on track... as I read, I first had the idea that Emmy Lou's neighborhood was flat-out weird and perhaps a little over-the-top until I remembered that, at one time, my own street housed six different nationalities, a 90 year age span from oldest to youngest-- and the house on the corner where young thieves would gather to plan their next rash of burglaries.

I deduced quite a bit of what was going on in The Cluttered Corpse, but as is the case with so many cozy mysteries, the whodunit isn't as important as the who. I enjoy hanging out with Charlotte and her crew, and Maffini's sense of humor can have me laughing out loud.

If you'd like to organize a fun and pleasant afternoon, I suggest you give Charlotte Adams a call. ( )
  cathyskye | Apr 7, 2011 |
Take a look at the cover of this book. Pink border, curlicued and cutesy title. On the back, you have your standard cozy plot: Person in unusual profession (in this case, an organization specialist) in a small town stumbles into a murder case that is related to her current project. Protagonist attempts to solve case, antics ensue. What you see on the back is pretty much what you get with this book.

This is the second entry in the Charlotte Adams, Organization Artist series, so the relationships between the recurring characters have already been established and there isn't as much tedious backstory, so we are able to jump relatively quickly into the case. Successful businesswoman Emmy Lou Rheinbeck has a massively overgrown stuffed-animal collection and wants Charlotte to organize it. But in addition to her excess of plush toys, Emmy Lou has an excess of unwanted attention from the neighbour, Kevin Dingwall, and his obnoxious friend Tony Starkman. They seem to have been playing pranks on her for a while now, and it's taking its toll on her. Charlotte is intrigued but can't really go meddling into her client's affairs, can she? At least until someone is murdered...

Well, this was a satisfactory book. Very, very cozy, what with the small-town setting, the unlikely super sleuth, the amazingly-ready-to-help social circle of the protagonist, and the extremely tidy resolution. But still, a nice little diversion. I thought the addition of organizing tips at the beginning of each chapter was a nice touch (and the one for Chapter 3 is funny 'cause it's true), and the ending was certainly not short of action. I think it may have been a touch faster-paced than the rest of the book, what with all the events being crammed in, but I shall not quibble with that. The description of the protagonist's fashions are a bit much, though, at least for this non-fashionista. I don't really care what the detective wears as long as he or she can solve the crime.

To sum up: this is a pleasant read if you enjoy cozies or have read other books by Mary Jane Maffini. Or if you like your organization tips with a bit of murder. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Feb 28, 2011 |
Yet another enjoyable writer I have missed over the years - and, in my own back yard! Shameful!.
It would seem that the two Charlotte Adams mysteries, to date, are only the latest of a selection of Maffini sleuths that one might choose to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon, or any other afternoon, or morning, for that matter, and be richly rewarded with what the Montreal Gazette calls, "A comedic, murderous romp..." As a bonus, Charlotte Adams being a professional "organizer" of the non-trade union type, offers you helpful suggestions with organizing messy kitchen cupboards, closets, mudrooms or whole houses, for that matter.
I look forward to exploring Mary Jane Maffini's other sleuth series. ( )
  rmbarker | Nov 2, 2008 |
Another madcap murder mystery from Mary Jane Maffini. It's fun, with organizing tips at the beginning of every chapter. ( )
  Scrabblenut | May 30, 2008 |
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For Lyn Hamilton, fine friend and true woman of mystery
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Keep a plan-B project ready to go in case you have an unexpected hiatus in your activities.

"You saved my life." Emmy Lou Rheinbeck's green eyes glowed with gratitude. "Oh, not really." I stared modestly down at my patent leather wedge-heeled shoes.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425220923, Mass Market Paperback)

"Organization can get very messy... When Charlotte Adams agrees to help Emmy Lou Rheinbeck organize her stuffed animal collection, she never imagines she'll find herself fending off pranksters whose shenanigans lead to murder."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:14 -0400)

Professional organizer Charlotte Adams comes face-to-face with murder when one of her clients, successful business executive Emmy Lou Rheinbeck, is targeted by a disturbed young man and his best friend whose horrible pranks go too far.

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