Monday, November 23, 2015

Smart but Dead by Nancy West - #review

Skirting forty and appalled by the prospect of descending into middle-age decrepitude, Aggie Mundeen blasts off to the local university to study the genetics of aging. In addition to providing youthful hints for readers of her column, “Stay Young with Aggie,” Aggie is doggedly determined to stay young.

Despite conflicts with her professor, she learns about the Human Genome Project and DNA. When she discovers a dead body, Detective Sam reminds her not to “help” with the investigation. But dangerously curious and programmed to prod, she races to solve the crime, winds up the prime suspect and is on target to become next campus corpse.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, Southern humor, Southern living, and humorous murder mysteries.

Books in the Aggie Mundeen Humorous Mystery Series:




I read Fit to Be Dead, the first book in this series, not too long ago and enjoyed the character of Aggie Mundeen.  Somehow I totally missed the 2nd book, Dang Near Dead;  I'm pleading temporary insanity on that one.  So when the opportunity came up to read and review Smart, But Dead, I was one happy reader.

First off, the titles of the books in this series are very punny, and rate very high on my cozy mystery title favorites scale.  When I see the title Fit to be Dead, I start hearing the song "Hip to be Square".  Go figure.  'Dang' is just fun to say out loud, especially if you hold onto the vowel.  And Smart, But Dead, just makes so much sense.  Sure, that professor was brilliant and on track to solve one of the mysteries of aging.  But someone (and I'm not saying who) gets greedy and for all his smarts, he still winds up dead.

I suppose I identify with Aggie and that's why I like her so much.  We are both 'of a certain age' ... but she seems to be taking it all in stride better than I have.

She writes a blog on how to stay young, she goes back to university and studies genetics, which is tough enough to dive into anyway, let alone when you are a 'mature student' (or whatever the current preferred euphemism happens to be), and she's enjoying a relationship with a a regional officer of the law.  Shoot, if I was single and Aggie wasn't in the picture, I'd go after Sam myself!

Smart, But Dead receives a high grade from me.  Ms. West's words are witty (try saying that a few times quickly), the characters live and breathe, and I look forward to Aggie's next adventure!



I’ve been writing since age seven: poems back and forth with my mom. I had a real poem published in the Library Journal, Pegasus, at age fifteen. At eighteen, I wanted to study journalism and English literature, but friends who chose that college route were making minimum wage or selling lingerie. Being practical, I earned a business degree. After marriage and two children, I decided I HAD to study literature and write. I wrote non-fiction articles, a biography, and a suspense novel in 2004. That’s when whimsical Aggie Mundeen cut through the suspense, popped into my head and demanded her own series. The Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Aggie must have been right: FIT TO BE DEAD is a LEFTY FINALIST 2013 for best humorous mystery, nominated by Left Coast Crime.


Click the logo above to go to the tour page, where you will find links to many more reviews an also an interview with the author!  You can also find out how to apply to become a virtual book tour host yourself!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)


  1. LuAnn,
    I love your review. Thanks for having me! I guess I better let Aggie know she has some competition. (:

    Nancy (p.s. I posted earlier but it didn't take.)

  2. Nice review, although I wish would not have mentioned that song! Now you know what has been going through my head. :p