Thursday, October 18, 2007

Frill Kill - Laura Childs

Frill Kill
A Scrapbooking Mystery
Laura Childs
Berkley Prime Crime


Halloween in New Orleans’ French Quarter is a serious celebration. The shops go all out to promote anything related to the supernatural. Of course, that’s easier for some shops than for others. Ava Grieux, owner of the Juju Voodoo Shop, has a built-in Halloween theme. To capitalize, she’s throwing an open house, with free food and wine. The place is completely packed, and there are almost more customers than her clerks can handle. Of course, her best friend, Carmela Bertrand, owner of the scrapbooking store Memory Mine, is on hand.

One of the major attractions is a handsome young man called Giovanni, who mesmerizes the crowd with tarot readings and magic. Among the guests, Carmela recognizes Amber Lalique, a model poised for international fame, on the arm of famed local designer, Chadron. When Giovanni pulls Amber aside, Chadron looks none too pleased, but his business partner, Gordon, is clearly enjoying the party.

After the party, Carmela is headed to her car, parked in an alleyway, when she discovers Amber’s lifeless body behind a Dumpster. Before Carmela can react, she’s knocked to the ground from behind. Giovanni is there to help her to her feet, but Carmela wonders why he was really in the alley. According to the police, there are what appear to be animal bite marks on Amber’s throat. According to Ava, there’s no way Giovanni could possibly be involved. And everyone is looking to Carmela to figure out what really happened. Everyone but the police, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, that is.

The New Orleans setting really lends itself to a Halloween-themed mystery, and the author clearly loves the city and its residents. Carmela and Ava are great as best friends and business owners. Longtime readers of the series (MOTIF FOR MURDER) will recognize lots of returning characters, but newcomers will have no problems jumping in at this point. The mystery is interesting, and there are enough potential suspects to make it a real puzzle. Rounding things out are crafting tips and some delicious-looking recipes. If you can’t get to the French Quarter for Halloween, this is the next best thing.

Rating: 7 ½
October 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21730-6 (hardcover)


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