Thursday, December 28, 2006

Murder and Salutations - Elizabeth Bright

Murder and Salutations
A Card-Making Mystery
Elizabeth Bright


Jennifer Shane has realized her dream: she runs her own business, based on making custom cards, something she honestly loves. Although the shop is still somewhat new, it’s doing quite well and developing a steady clientele. But, with a scrapbooking shop just down the street, it’s her sister Sara Lynn who’s in line for an award at this years Chamber of Commerce dinner. Before leaving for the dinner, Jennifer’s shop assistant, her Aunt Lillian, has a shocking piece of news. The COC president, Eliza Glade, a woman who has contrived to out-do everyone whenever possible, has been having an affair with Sara Lynn’s husband, Bailey. In fact, Bailey has moved out and the couple is divorcing.

Never one to shrink from a challenge, Sara Lynn attends the dinner with her head held high and her aunt and sister at her side. At awards time, Eliza is nowhere to be found, so the vice president announces that the Businessperson of the Year is Jennifer. Enclosed with the award is a letter/speech, clearly penned by Eliza, which manages to insult Sara Lynn. Before Jennifer can claim her award, there’s a scream from the kitchen. Eliza is dead, stabbed with a souvenir letter opener. Although the sheriff is brother to Sara Lynn and Jennifer, it’s pretty clear that Sara Lynn, seen arguing with Eliza earlier, is the prime suspect. Plenty of others had plenty of motives, though, so it’s up to Jennifer and her intrepid aunt to uncover the real killer.

While this is the latest in a series, newcomers will have no problems getting up to speed. The essential backstory is expertly woven into the opening scenes. Both sisters are interesting characters, and women facing life and running businesses on their own. Aunt Lillian is always fun, and the wisdom she’s accumulated from life in general, and being divorced seven times in particular, is doled out generously. This is a great series for lovers of cozy mysteries. And anyone even remotely interested in the art of making custom cards will enjoy the card-making scenes, and the tips scattered throughout the story.

Rating: 8
December 2006
ISBN# 0-451-22000-5 (paperback)


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