Donna Huston Murray

Ginger Barnes - Middle class housewife and amateur sleuth -
Main Line Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"School of Hard Knocks"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark JUN 17, 1998)

School of Hard Knocks

I ran into Barnes & Noble to pick up a last minute graduation present and found myself standing in front of this writer.  She was holding a book signing and asked if I liked mysteries. Ginger Barnes, her main character, is an upper middle class housewife who lives on the Main Line, Philadelphia.  I was skeptical, but here was a real life writer in front of me --  who am I to snob any attempt at writing and she had written 4 novels! I decided to try this one, the third in her series. 

This book is a pleasant surprise.  I like the way she weaves a mystery around common everyday family events.  To me, Ginger seems real or, at least, someone I want to believe could exist.  She has a sense of humor, she's not without some problems that she feels that she should be handling better, and she's nice. At some point I had a good idea as to who the murderer was, not that it is the only mystery.  This did not detract from the story since I wanted to fill in all the details and I just wasn't always sure I really knew "whodunit".  School of Hard Knocks is a very traditional style paperback mystery in a nontraditional setting.  It does not include violent scenes, foul language or sex.  It does offer humorous insight, decent vocabulary and humanity.  Kind of refreshing, eh? 

  • Amazon reader rating: not rated


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About the Author:

Donna Huston MurrayDonna Huston Murray moved to Philadephia's Main Line when her husband, Hench, became head of a small private school.

Her husband is now a camp director and consultant. They have two adult children, Robynne and Casey.

Murray has written for Mystery Scene Magazine, Reader's Digest, Echelon and Redbook. Her work can also be found in the Edgar-award winning companion book, The Fine Art of Murder and the Lethal Ladies I and Lethal Ladies II anthologies by Berkeley.

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