"Stayin’ Alive" The Country Club Murders By Julie Mulhern: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a signed copy of this book at the end of the review and links to purchase it.

Having been shanghaied into chairing the Chinese Exhibition gala, the last thing Ellison Russell needed was a visit from her entire judgmental family. Of course that’s exactly what she got, with both her Dowager Empress of a mother and competitive sister both in town at the Country Club Plaza. At least Ellison’s newly discovered half-sister Karma and free-spirited Aunt Sis will be on hand to counter the passive-aggression, although having them stay at her home means that late-night visits from the handsome Detective Anarchy Jones will be scarce. Despite all signs of the gala exceeding even Mother’s expectations, Ellison is unable to relax out of the fear that her corpse-finding jinx will kick in before the night is over. She’s proven right to have been worried, as both Anarchy and Ellison happen upon the body of fabric designer Phyllis Goddard strangled to death in the Ming Dynasty Alcove bed.

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While Mother lambasts Ellison for once again being in the midst of murder, Aunt Sis and Karma decide to extend their stay and be detective assistants. There’s always a surfeit of gossip spreading through the elite Kansas City town, with no shortage of rumors of infidelities, disgruntled business partners, and vengeful exes. Being told that Anarchy himself is hiding a secret about his past in San Francisco does little to ease Ellison’s PTSD from her last marriage and her own commitment issues, which will make investigating the following series of murders more than a little awkward. The minor mystery of the canine responsible for digging up flowers throughout the neighborhood will plague Ellison as well, but at least her own dog Max has an alibi as unbreakable as most of the murder suspects.

This continues to be one of the most enjoyable “domestic” mystery series crafted around high society life of an exclusive community in 1975. Women battle to be seen as capable business owners, Polaroid cameras still exist, and there’s a lot of swigging Tab. Looming throughout all of these novels is Ellison’s struggle to escape the expectations of what it is to be a divorcee, facing a tremendous amount of pressure to marry again but only to the “right” man. As irritating as Ellison’s mother and the snooty country club members may be, Ellison’s teenaged daughter more than supports her mom’s new lifestyle through love, wry quips, and sharp observations. Anarchy continues to be the man of any woman’s dreams, and readers will root for the couple and hope that Ellison can finally learn to lower her emotional shields and defy conventions. Descriptions of high-end 1970s fashion, nouveau cuisine, and exclusive high-society estates make this a feast for the imagination. When blended together with a compelling mystery where the clues are sprinkled throughout leading to an exciting and satisfying conclusion, it ensures for an escapist novel of humor, intrigue, and a romance.

To enter to win a signed copy of Stayin’ Alive, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "alive,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 18, 2020. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, we will not use your address for any other reason. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast featuring mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors. A new episode goes up next week!

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.


  1. I’d love to read this! Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  2. Thanks for the opportunity, new author for me. Sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  3. New series to me. Would love to read.

  4. Looking forward to starting this series.
    It has been on my to be read pile for awhile.
    I am slowly reading through at about a book a day during the shelter in place.
    karen94066 at aol.com

  5. Having read several of Julie Mulhern's books and found them to be entertaining. I hope I'll
    be lucky and win this book. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  6. This sounds really interesting. Thank you for the chance,


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