Paper, Scissors, Death
A Scrapbooking Mystery with Kiki Lowenstein by Joanna Campbell Slan
Review: Joanna Campbell Slan introduces wife, mother, and scrapbooking expert Kiki Lowenstein in Paper, Scissors, Death, the first mystery in the Scrap-N-Craft series set in St. Louis, Missouri.
Kiki, husband George, and 11-year-old daughter Anya live in an upscale large home in an exclusive suburb of St. Louis. Kiki finds much delight in scrapbooking, so much so, that at times she teaches small classes in her home. Tragedy strikes this contented family's home when George is found dead in a fashionable hotel in the city. He was naked, save for a striped scarf in his mouth. His death was ruled a heart attack by the coroner. Kiki, however, could not accept this verdict. George recently had had a complete physical examination and was found to be in perfect health. If she had to do it alone, with no help from the authorities, she would somehow prove that her husband was murdered.
She's going to get no help from her mother-in-law, though. George's mother, Sheila, does not even try to hide the hatred she feels for Kiki. She believes Kiki stole George's true love from him, his high school sweetheart Roxanne Baxter. When George died, Sheila devotes all her love and attention to her granddaughter, Anya. And then Kiki is informed by George's partner shortly after his death that he had been embezzling large sums of money from their company, close to a half a million dollars. If she would pay it back in full, he would not make a public revelation of that fact. Kiki sells their home and most of their possessions to protect George's name, moving to a more modest section of the area. But then things get really tough for Kiki when, in her search for the truth, she discovers that George had been seeing Roxanne all along. In a heated exchange with the woman, Kiki threatens her. When Roxanne is later found dead, Kiki naturally becomes the prime suspect, giving Sheila an opportunity to try to get custody of Anya. Kiki receives help and support not only from friends working on their scrapbooks, but also a very attentive detective. And could the solution to this mystery be contained within the scrap-n-craft entries in the scrapbooks themselves?
Slan cleverly frames the mystery in Paper, Scissors, Death around the craft of scrapbooking, something about which she clearly has considerable knowledge yet makes it seem approachable to beginners. Instructions, tips, and techniques are all featured. The characters, in particular Kiki, are nicely developed and likeable, and there's an enjoyable mix of humor, suspense, with a just a touch of romance in this well-rounded cozy debut.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Paper, Scissors, Death.
Acknowledgment: Midnight Ink provided a copy of Paper, Scissors, Death for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Paper, Scissors, Death: St. Louis, Missouri
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Paper, Scissors, Death by Joanna Campbell Slan — A Scrapbooking Mystery with Kiki Lowenstein
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2008
List Price: $14.95