Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.
Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.
As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.
School is supposed to be a place to learn, not a place to die.
Emma and Leslie’s budding friendship was one of my favourite things about this tale. I learned a lot about both of them by seeing how quickly they started spending time together and what a good time they had every time they met up. Their personalities complemented each other nicely. I also liked seeing how both of the characters were different from each other. Emma seemed to be a little more quiet and shy, so it was fascinating to watch Leslie bring out parts of her personality that no one else could.
There were a few mild pacing issues in the beginning. The main character spent a lot of time telling the audience about how she was handling her new job and what she thought about the people she met there before the circumstances surrounding the murder were discussed. This did slow down the plot a little at first, but the rest of the book more than made up for that.
The mystery was really well done. I enjoyed seeing how Emma snuck around the school and other places in order to find new clues about the murder since there weren’t many of them in the beginning. She definitely had her work cut out for her. The fact that nothing was revealed easily made this a lot of fun to read. I silently cheered every time she uncovered another clue or learning something new about an existing one.
I’d recommend Death by Diploma to anyone who likes a little romance in their murder mysteries.