Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Button Holed - Kylie Logan

Button Holed
Kylie Logan
Berkley Prime Crime

That’s right, buttons.  Who would have thought?  But stay with me, because this was a very enjoyable mystery and the first of a new series.

Josie Giancola just opened her dream shop: the Button Box.  She’s a self-proclaimed button nerd.  I had no idea there was such a thing, but clearly, there are lots of people who view buttons as little pieces of art and history and devote their lives to collecting and studying them.  Josie is preparing for her new shop to be put on the map in a big way.  Superstar Kate Franciscus will be visiting to select the perfect buttons for her designed-to-order wedding dress.  She’ll be marrying a foreign prince soon, and the press can’t get enough of her or her so-secret wedding plans.
Her first visit is accompanied by several assistants and a horde of reporters and photographers.  Her second visit to the shop is supposed to be held in private, to keep her selections secret until the big day.  Josie runs out for a sandwich several hours before the appointment time.  When she returns to her shop, Kate is already there.  Unfortunately, she’s lying on the floor, dead, stabbed with an antique button hook.  When the body is removed, Josie discovers a unique button on the floor.  The button doesn’t belong to her, but Josie is determined to track down the owner, and maybe even the killer.
Josie is a strong female character.  Far too often, we meet women during the last months of their terrible relationship and have to watch them make excuses for themselves and their no-good significant others.  Josie is a wonderful exception.  She married a handsome guy who turned out to be a compulsive gambler, liar, and thief.  We meet her after she’s realized the truth, found her backbone, and finalized the divorce.  It’s refreshing to see a character acknowledge past mistakes and refuse to make them again.
The book actually begins when Josie arrives at her shop during a burglary.  That scene introduces Josie, makes her sympathetic, lets the reader know who she is, and sets the pace for the rest of the story.  The story is told by Josie, in first person, and she’s a very entertaining narrator.  There’s a wide array of possible suspects, and the plot unfolds in expert fashion.  The final scene reads like an old Nero Wolfe novel, with all the suspects assembled for the denouement.  The whole thing comes off very well.  I know I’ll never look at a button the same way again.

Rating: 7 ½
September 2011
ISBN#  978-0-425-24376-3 (paperback)


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