Publication Date: 10/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Laura Childs on the WEB: Website, Facebook, Goodreads
Books in the series:
Keepsake Crimes (2003), Photo Finished (2004), Bound by Murder (2004), Motif for Murder (2006), Frill Kill (2007), Death Swatch (2008), Tragic Magic (2009), Fiber & Brimstone (2010), Skeleton Letters (2011), Postcards from the Dead (2012), Gilt Trip (2013)
Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from Gilt Trip, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
Louisiana businessman Jerry Earl Leland served only a fraction of his five-year sentence for white-collar crime, thanks to some political connections and a few greased palms. But he won’t have long to enjoy his freedom…
After Jerry Earl’s early release, his wife, Margo—a much-married Garden District doyenne—throws an extravagant Get Out of Jail Free Party, complete with a Zydeco band, champagne ice luge, and waiters in ties and tails. The guest list includes many prominent New Orleans socialites, as well as scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava Gruiex. But sometime during the swirl of partying and drinking, Jerry Earl is brutally murdered—then stuffed inside a clothes dryer.
Carmela has earned a reputation around town for solving murders, and when the grieving widow turns to her for help, she can’t say no. But Jerry Earl took a lot of people to the cleaners with his underhanded business tactics, so Carmela’s going to be hard-pressed to identify which of his enemies was steamed enough to kill him. As she sorts through Jerry Earl’s dirty laundry, she needs to collar the killer before another victim is set to tumble dry…
You don't have to be a scrapbooking fan to fall in love with Laura Childs' Scrapbooking mystery series. Just out, Gilt Trip is the eleventh book in a series that is only getting better with time. Childs enchants readers with her knowledge of New Orleans and it's eerie appeal. The heroine for this series, Carmela Bertrand was recently named as Best Amateur Sleuth by the Romantic Times Book Review and it's easy to see why, in this mapcap mystery that begins with a "Get Out of Jail Free" party and ends in murder. Childs attention to detail and well developed characters make this a must read for cozy fans!
I read a lot of books. I read a lot of mysteries. I read a lot of cozy mysteries, so when I say a particular author is not one of my favorites, but my favorite, that's saying something. Laura Childs is definitively my favorite cozy writer. Having written three cozy mystery series': The Scrapbooking Mysteries, The Tea Shoppe mysteries and the Cackleberry Club mysteries, Childs is not a stranger to the cozy sub-genre. Her books are well researched and full of the nuances and phrasing that makes each setting come alive.
The Scrapbooking mysteries are set in the Big Easy. New Orleans is just one of those cities that people can easily attribute to murder and mayhem. There is an atmosphere of tradition and taboos, including voodoo and vampires, but Childs takes a different direction with her series and focuses on murder. I like the fact that Childs makes each book feel like a history lesson and an entertaining read. As readers we get to learn more an more of alluring history of the city and Louisiana in general, while relishing a good whodunit. Childs is one of the best at creating a setting that draws the reader in and won't let go.
Carmela Bertrand is one smart cookie. Not only does she own and run her own scrapbooking shop which generally has a strong part in each book, but she also has a part in just about every mystery that happens in the city. She has found several dead bodies and citizens have come to rely on her to help them figure out what happened when murder is at hand. It is easy to see why Carmela appeals to so many readers. She is sophisticated and elegant, but she can get down and dirty. I love the way she goes about figuring it all out. She has knack for making connections that aren't always obvious and that makes her a great sleuth. Childs does an excellent job with this character every time out.
In Gilt Trip Carmela and her sidekick Ava are attending a party celebrating the early release from jail of Louisiana business man, who has quite a few enemies. When he turns up dead, tumbling around in the dryer, Carmela is on the case. I love the fact that Childs always makes sure that not only Ava has a central part in the story, but the police as well. It does't hurt that Carmela has some pretty strong feeling for Babock, who happens to be on the force. I thought the mystery aspect of the book was well planned and written and had a lot of good suspects. I didn't figure this one out until the very end. I suspected the correct killer once, but Childs was easily able to dissuade me. I love it when I get stumped!
Readers will enjoy finding out about Carmela's life and her deepening feelings for Babcock. They will enjoy the wonderful friendship she and Ava have. Ava is sassy and perky as usual and Carmela is as always, the voice of reason. I think learning about her life outside of sleuthing is just as interesting as the murder details. This is probably one of my favorites of this particular series by Childs. It has depth and draws on areas other than just New Orleans. Even the secondary characters like the victim and his wife were well developed and had a lot of dimensions to them. I thought the plot was excellent and believable. Finding the dead guy in the dryer was certainly a surprise, but that just shows that Childs still has a lot more stories to tell from Carmela and her friends.
In short, this is the best cozy I've read this year! Can't get a much higher recommendation than that.
Gilt Trip is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag! It's a shame I don't give 10's!
About the Author:
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Cackleberry Club Mysteries, and the Scrapbooking Mysteries. She is a consummate tea drinker, scrapbooker, and dog lover, and travels frequently to China and Japan with Dr. Bob, her professor husband. In her past life she was a Clio Award–winning advertising writer and CEO of her own marketing firm.
The author is sponsoring a giveaway for two copies of her book, Gilt Trip.
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