A Scrapbooking Mystery with Carmela Bertrand by Laura Childs
Review: A Mardi Gras celebration turns into a murder investigation for New Orleans scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand in Death Swatch, the sixth mystery in this series by Laura Childs.
Carmela is attending a gala at Jekyl Hardy's vast apartment in the French Quarter when the festivities are abruptly brought to a halt when Carmela and her best friend, Ava Gruiex, walk out onto the patio and find Jekyl's new neighbor, Archie Baudier, dying, a heavy barbed wire knotted tightly around his throat. While waiting for the police to arrive, Carmela notices that Archie's otherwise immaculate shoes were flecked with gold paint and an old coin lay near the body. She pockets the coin to look at it later just as the police arrive, realizing all the while she was disturbing a crime scene. Newly independent, her divorce nearly final, and anxious to prove she doesn't need a man in her life (but isn't the police lieutenant rather attractive?), Carmella and Ava take it upon themselves to solve the puzzling murder
There are few cities in the world where such a diverse cast of characters seem more perfectly at home than in New Orleans. The city also makes a terrific setting for a murder mystery, and the author takes full advantage of her locale to great effect in Death Swatch. Characters are introduced at a somewhat leisurely pace allowing the reader to get comfortable with them within the context of the plot, and there's a historical element that adds some depth and interest to their investigation. As befits a scrapbooking mystery, there are numerous references to the craft that are seamlessly integrated into the story. (Scrapbook, stamping, and craft tips are added as an appendix in addition to favorite New Orleans recipes.) Unmasking the killer isn't all that difficult as the clues tend to be of the connect-the-dots variety, but the strong characters and setting more than compensate making Death Swatch a pleasure to read.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Death Swatch for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Death Swatch: New Orleans, Louisiana
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Death Swatch by Laura Childs — A Scrapbooking Mystery with Carmela Bertrand
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: September 2008
List Price: $23.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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