Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hot Button - Kylie Logan

Hot Button
Kylie Logan
Berkley Prime Crime
This year, the International Society of Antique and Vintage Button Collectors are holding their annual conference in Chicago.  Josie Giancola, button expert and owner of the Button Box, is serving as chair for the first time.  To say it’s not going well would be an understatement.  And it all seemed so promising.  First, was the coup of convincing Thad Wyant to be the keynote speaker.  Thad is the top expert in Western buttons.  In fact, he owns a button cut from Geronimo’s shirt (more on that later.)  He’s also something of a hermit, so getting him to appear is a huge draw for the conference.
Turns out, he might be a hermit for a reason.  He’s offensive and demanding and actually calls Josie “little lady.”  But everyone present wants to see that button in person, so Josie is determined to put up with his eccentricities.  She also has to put up with her charming user ex-husband, Kaz, who shows up and worms his way in as her ‘assistant’ for reasons that are clearly all his own.  All of this fades into unimportance, though, when Josie goes looking for Thad (who is late for a banquet in his honor) and finds him in the hotel laundry room.  He’s very, very dead.  And the button isn’t on him.
This is the second entry - following BUTTON HOLED - in an entertaining series, and it’s a good, solid mystery with plenty of suspects.  In fact, the author does an almost Christie-like job of moving the suspects around right before the murder, giving them all what looks like clear opportunity to go along with motive to commit the murder.  There are some very nice twists to the story, too.  I admit, I saw a couple of the twists coming, and was disappointed that Josie didn’t, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of this story, since there will still plenty of turns I never expected.  Ms. Logan writes mysteries that remind me of the old who-done-its, even gathering suspects together near the end.  It’s all a lot of fun.

Adding to the fun is my delight at learning what was to me an obscure piece of American history.  Apparently, Geronimo was a businessman and a shrewd showman long before the terms were even coined.  He was canny enough to capitalize on his notoriety by appearing in Wild West shows, for a fee, of course.  And, when people came to visit him, he would cut a button off his shirt to sell to them as a memento.  Then he’d sew another button right back on in anticipation of the next visitor.  This is part of the joy of reading widely: you never know what interesting facts you’ll encounter.  And since Josie will be returning, I’m hoping to learn more next time.
Rating: 7
June 2012
ISBN# 978-0-425-25135-5 (paperback)


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