Sunday, September 07, 2008

Stamped Out - Terri Thayer

Stamped Out
A Stamping Sisters Mystery
Terri Thayer
Berkley Prime Crime

At 31, April Buchert is back in her hometown of Aldenville, PA, for the first time since age seventeen. She left to get away from the place. She’s back because after the failure of her marriage and business in San Francisco, she’s broke and has no other place to go. She’s living in a barn her dad, Ed, renovated and will be working for his business, Retro Renovations. Her first client owns Mirabella, the largest house in the area. April believes she’ll be using stamping techniques to bring the walls back to their former glory. But there are things about the job her dad didn’t tell her.

When the owner orders the guesthouse, nicknamed the Castle, demolished, Ed’s employee uses a little too much dynamite. The blast is felt for miles. And it demolishes any part of the house that might have been salvaged for materials – or money. When the brickwork chimney collapses, a skull is revealed. No one knows whose skull it is, how it got there, or how long it’s been there, but local cop Henry Yost instantly suspects Ed. Not least because Ed’s previous construction company built the place. With her dad under a cloud of suspicion, April decides to try to clear his name.

While doing so, she’s forced to confront her own memories and issues from the past. April seems more than a little sensitive at odd times. She was desperate to get out of town as a teenager, but when someone reminds her that life has continued without her, she feels hurt and angry. It can’t be easy to deal with the fact that your parents divorced because your dad fell for another man, but it seems that someone who lived in San Francisco for a decade, and weathered her own marital breakup, would have made peace with that.

On her first night back in town, April meets a group of stampers. I’ve never quite understood the attraction of the craft, but the author ably demonstrates various uses, from scrapbooks to personalized cards to wall treatments. The group is a varied bunch of characters, and each one has a contribution to make, either personally or to the mystery at hand. STAMPED OUT is a solid start to a new series of cozy mysteries.

Rating: 6
September 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22329-1 (paperback)


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