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All's Well That Ends: An Amanda Pepper Mystery    by Gillian Roberts Amazon.com order for
All's Well That Ends
by Gillian Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

In All's Well That Ends, Gillian Roberts presents fans with the fourteenth (and, sadly, final) book in her series starring Philadelphia private schoolteacher Amanda Pepper.

Amanda is involved with her students what teacher isn't? But when her concern for them runs over into their own time, they rebel. Money is missing from a collection taken up by the students for charity. Also the stepmother of Amanda's good friend Sasha has committed suicide. Amanda has known the woman for many years, but when Sasha insists that Phoebe didn't kill herself, Amanda finds herself once again embroiled in an investigation.

She is studying to be an investigator which is her husband's occupation. Maybe it's time to leave the teaching profession and move on. But first things first. Her sleuthing takes her from the streets of Philadelphia and across the river into New Jersey. It's always fun to read books that take place in familiar territory.

Gillian Roberts has not lost her knack for fast-paced suspense and inventing characters you would either like to know or are very glad you don't. Amanda runs into all kinds and manages them with flair. The plot line is clear and decisive. Her sense of humor never flags, even when a situation might be dire. All's Well That Ends is a good read.

2nd Review by Hilary Williamson:

I have been reading Gillian Roberts' Amanda Pepper series for many years, enjoying the author's witty commentary on teaching, on adolescents, and on life in general at least as much as the well-plotted mysteries the young teacher solves.

I had to laugh at the funeral scene where Sasha's dead stepmother - who believed herself descended from royalty - had decreed that her cremains be scattered from a martini shaker. Then there's the tiny woman named Toy, whose job involves staging houses to maximize real estate profits. And the new school secretary, Opal Codd, persists in broadening Amanda's - and the reader's - vocabulary with words like cheimaphiliac and flagitious, in a 'one-woman fight to save endangered vocabulary words'. But despite all this fun - and the endless murders that regularly challenge Mandy's puzzle-solving skills - she concludes that 'This isn't the adventure I want to be having right now' and her PI hubby agrees.

As the book ends and Amanda and Mackenzie - having solved the crime and a historical puzzle to boot - leave Philadelphia for New Orleans, we also learn from the front flap that All's Well That Ends is the final episode of this engaging series. What a shame for fans - but it does indeed end well.

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