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Karen Musser Nortman

Author of Bats and Bones

21 Works 313 Members 45 Reviews


Works by Karen Musser Nortman

Bats and Bones (2012) 46 copies, 4 reviews
The Time Travel Trailer (2014) 43 copies, 5 reviews
Peete and Repeat (2013) 30 copies, 6 reviews
A Campy Christmas (2015) 25 copies, 4 reviews
The Lady of the Lake (2014) 19 copies, 3 reviews
To Cache a Killer (2015) 18 copies, 4 reviews
Real Actors, Not People (2018) 17 copies, 4 reviews
Trailer on the Fly (2016) 17 copies, 3 reviews
We are NOT Buying a Camper! (2018) 13 copies, 2 reviews
The Space Invader (2016) 11 copies, 2 reviews
Trailer, Get Your Kicks! (2017) 9 copies
The Long, Wrong Trailer (2014) 7 copies, 1 review
Reunion and Revenge (2018) 6 copies
Double Dutch Death (2019) 6 copies


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cute cozy that started out poorly, but gained footing after 50-60 pages... interesting idea for time travel.
travelgirl-fics | 2 other reviews | Apr 10, 2024 |
I enjoyed [b: The Lady of the Lake|776159|The Lady in the Lake|Raymond Chandler||1939840] one of a series of "The Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries." by [a: Karen Musser Nortman|6583869|Karen Musser Nortman|]

This was a well written mystery that 1. Made me want to hurry and retire, 2. Buy a cool Camper Trailer, 3. Hit the road.

Most of the characters in this story were over twenty years old, and as an person nearing Senior status, it made me feel good to know that life after sixty is dull and lifeless (unless you are a victim of murderous scamps.)

This is the first "Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery I read, the story stood alone, but I cannot wait to read more of these mysteries.
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ourBooksLuvUs | 2 other reviews | Aug 20, 2023 |
Frannie and Larry Shoemaker, and their dog, Cuba, are once again in an RV campground--but not as guests this time. They're here to act as the hosts at a campground only an hour from their home, for the month of May. It's part of their longer-term plan to get an assignment at a campground someplace warmer than Iowa for the winter months. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, right, it's the Shoemakers, with Larry's sister Jayne-Ann and her husband Mickey coming to join them. Something will happen, and they'll be involved in finding the first signs of trouble. And Frannie will find clues whether she wants to or not. She is patient, she is kind, she is smart, and people talk to her. And now, for this month, they're the campground hosts.

This story is set during the height of the pandemic, and there are rules they've never had to follow before that they now have to be the first line of enforcement for. Wearing masks and encouraging others to do so. Telling people the bad news that group activities that would normally occur are canceled. The shower house is closed. And no socializing between groups. The park rangers are sending out notices to everyone that has reservations, and some are canceling as they get the word. Others are coming anyway, but if they don't comply when they arrive, it will be on Frannie and Larry to explain the rules again. If anyone doesn't comply after explanation and polite requests, they can call the rangers, who will do real enforcement.

Despite this, they're enjoying themselves, especially after Mickey and Jayne-Ann arrive. As a family group that are in and out of each other's homes all the time, they can also socialize at the campground--but they do limit this in order to not set a bad example.

As campers arrive, they have both good and bad encounters, and frankly strange ones, including Mr. Dwayne Dunning. Dunning rented a tent site for his first try ever at camping, and didn't realize that he needed to bring his own tent. Frannie explains that no, he needs to have his own. Being familiar with the area, she's able to tell him where he can buy one. He leaves his sleeping bag at his site, and it's stolen while he's off buying his tent.

There's a family with three lovely kids, and parents who are friendly, and happy to accommodate the change in rules despite the disappointing loss of some activities for the kids. There's a couple who are just not friendly at all, which Larry notes could be an advantage, compared to people who are too friendly, with the new rules. Also others who fall in the normal range of friendliness and willingness to go along with the new rules.

Then one of the friendly, reasonable ones sees someone sleeping on one of the benches along a hiking trail, one morning. He's gone by the time the ranger gets there (a relief to Frannie, for obvious reasons), but it certainly sounds like he's the one who stole Dunning's sleeping bag.

Covid further enlivens the campground, not by illness among the campers, but by the need of various campers to do work online or the children to do schoolwork online, in a place where most carriers have only iffy coverage. The number of children needing school access increases by two when the Shoemakers' son calls to say his wife is now hospitalized with covid, and can they take the kids, please? Juggling online work, keeping up with his wife's condition and needs while not being allowed to visit her, and being both a parent and a schoolteacher to his kids is becoming too much. Of course they agree to take the two kids, and meet halfway to pick them up the next morning.

Then Jayne-Ann finds a woman's shoe on one of the trails--a bloody shoe. And no one has seen the woman of the unfriendly couple. But a serious storm is moving in, and the immediate problem is to figure out where to get adequate shelter for the campers, given that the usual emergency shelter--the shower building--is closed by state order, due to the pandemic. There are unoccupied cabins, in need of renovation and having electricity but no water. Better shelter, at least, than tents or RVs, and just enough of them to give every group their own cabin for the storm. Point to Frannie as a good campground host, because the rangers didn't think of this.

They find the missing woman, badly beaten but alive, in the cabin the Shoemakers have been assigned. Her husband is missing. Sarah-Beth and Joe, Frannie's grandchildren, see a man dressed all in black, walking past on one of the trails while they were relegated to the truck after the discovery of the missing woman.

This is when it stops being a mostly-fun campground experience for the Shoemaker clan, and becomes tense and scary as they have a relatively legitimate inside track on the hunt for a dangerous man, and one person too many knows it. Other campers chime in with useful information, and Frannie and Sarah-Beth each have truly scary experiences.

There are close calls and new revelations.

These are fun books, with wonderful ongoing characters. I really enjoy them. Frannie in particular is just great, and the family and friends that are often with them on their camping adventures are also good, and a lot of fun. I do have a question, though, and fundamentally it's the Cabot Cove question. Don't park rangers have any shared, professional social media? Don't they share stories of the crazy guests the camps have? Hasn't anyone noticed that where the Shoemakers go, trouble follows, regardless of whether they cause any of it or not?

In the real world, I hope so. In this fictional world, I hope they keep on not noticing--at least, not unless Nortman can make an even better story out of that. I don't want these stories to stop.

And as always, Michelle Babb does an excellent job of narration.


I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, and am reviewing it voluntarily.
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LisCarey | Dec 26, 2022 |
Corpse of Discovery is another delightful cozy mystery in the Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries series by Karen Musser Nortman. By number 9 in the series, readers know that when Frannie and her hubby and friends make camp in a campground, there is a body soon to be found. And as they settle in at the mountain man rendevous with people debating whether Merriweather Lewis was murdered or committed suicide, a similar debate comes up with another dead camper at the rendevous. And Frannie is right there in the middle of it all. I enjoy Frannie's involvement in solving the murders. There are lots of suspects, quirky characters, adventure, and a little history tossed in too. Will Frannie be able to suss out the culprit before they have to leave? Don't miss the next in a fun line of cozy mysteries. Michelle Babb does a good job narrating the story which makes for an enjoyable listening experience. I received a complimentary copy of the audiobook and was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are my own.… (more)
Anne_Rightler | 2 other reviews | Sep 25, 2022 |



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Michelle Babb Narrator
Aurora Lightbourne Illustrator



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