“Student Body” An E.J. Pugh Mystery By Susan Rogers Cooper

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win an EBOOK copy of this book at the end of the review & links to purchase it.

It was in 1996 that readers were first introduced to E.J. Pugh, a delightfully sarcastic mother, wife, and aspiring romance writer. In this thirteenth novel of the series her oldest son is off at the University of Texas, continuing the legacy of stumbling across bodies. Graham Pugh had just about had it with Bishop “Bish” Alexander’s arrogance and general obnoxiousness, but Graham is pretty certain that he would never have stabbed his roommate to death without remembering it. Bish’s girlfriend (the ex status is up for debate) is quick to accuse Graham, making him the number one suspect in the eyes of Detective Nate Champion. Having done her share of helping—E.J.’s neighbor and Codderville Detective Elena Luna prefers to call it “interfering”— in murder investigations, E.J. sets off to Austin to protect her son and keep him out of jail.

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Although the entire Pugh family immediately accompanies E.J. to descend upon the unsuspecting Austin police, soon only E.J. and Graham remain to investigate the many, many suspects who hated Bish enough to want him dead. Through no small amount of guilt, E.J. recruits Elena for assistance as a mediator, while Champion is determined that the women not distract him from his target. What is refreshing is that Champion slowly becomes swayed by the stubborn force of nature that is E.J., although in all probability Elena’s practicality and logic ultimately plays a larger role. Bish’s vengeful ex-girlfriend, abused toady of a best friend, even more abused advisor, and even his own mother disliked the victim, leading E.J. and her team through a multitude of motivations and suspects.

Image source: Severn House

The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree, and Graham shares his mother’s acerbic wit and gift of the sarcastic insult. As he tells E.J., Graham needs the woman who finds out who did what, not the Mom who corrects his language and worries over missed classes. The two have one of the most unique, refreshing, and entertaining mother-son relationships seen in mystery fiction, using snipes to cover up their love and concern. The ultimate irony will come when Graham encounters the girl who could be the One, whose personality disturbingly reminds him of the other most important woman in his life. The exchanges between E.J. and Graham are hilarious and relatable, making this one of the most light-hearted and engaging installments of the series.

What makes this series so refreshing is that E.J. and her husband retain the same humor, passion, and occasional immaturity they had when they first met; only now they also seem to have acquired a son and three teenaged daughters through birth, adoption, and fostering. This novel is as fresh as the debut of the series, and the exuberant tone and laughs continue from the first page to the last. That the solution to the mystery is completely unpredictable is a bonus, delivering a completely surprising and satisfying conclusion.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Student Body (Special note-the ebook will be through NetGalley a free service that the winner will have to sign up for) simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “student,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 30, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address. If entering via comment please be sure to include your email address.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.



  2. sounds very entertaining.
    kckendler at gmail dot com

  3. Thanks for showcasing this author & book. Sounds like another one to add to my list. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. Sounds really great--I'd love to read it. Karamarks0463@att.net

  5. Sounds great! You gotta love a sarcastic mom. :)

  6. Sounds like a great read
    I've not seen anything from her in while either! I would love to read this one.

  7. This is a new to me author. Sounds like a great read. I really enjoy mysteries set in academia.


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