Friday, October 25, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Gilt Trip

Gilt Trip (Scrapbooking Mysteries - Book 11) by Laura Childs

Publication Date: 10/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime 
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0425252922
ISBN-13: 978-0425252925

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Laura Childs on the WEB: WebsiteFacebook, 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.

Synopsis:

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…


Thoughts:

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.


Giveaway Details:

The author is sponsoring a giveaway for two copies of her book, Gilt Trip.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, November 8th.

1. Please leave a comment describing your own scrapbooking adventures or things you would like to try.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

26 comments:

holdenj said...

I actually just used a coupon at a local Archiver's store and took in a bunch of my parents old family slides to be scanned. I have been working on trying to organize things somewhat chronologically--using each house where people lived as a pile! I really enjoy the scrapbooking series too!

Linda Kish said...

It's not something new, but something I haven't done in close to 30 years, I'd like to give crocheting another try. I have upper extremity disabilities so I've been putting it off. Maybe this year.

Karen B said...

My last scrapbooking attempt was back in the 50s. Just cut and paste - nothing like the works of art that are done today - but it's still fun to look through them!

Angela Holland said...

I have been scrapbooking for a long time. One of my fun albums I did was my twenty wishes album, it is kind of like a bucket list. I had fun thinking up my list and scrapbooking about it.

Rita said...

I have always done what they consider scrapbooking nowadays. I started doing it when my children were young.

Carol N Wong said...

I don't do any scrapbooking now but when I was in 7th grade I did. Our Junior Red Cross book made scrapbooks for people in nursing homes. I went through a lot of Elmer's glue!

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

traveler said...

I did scrapbooking when I was young and devoted a great deal of time and attention to this hobby which I enjoyed and saved the results. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Barbara T. said...

I went to a scrapbooking show a few weeks ago. Took a class utilizing a scoring tool purchased many years ago. I am a card maker, not a scrapper, but thoroughly enjoy Laura Child's books.

NoraA said...

I'm not the scrapbooker in this family. My sister in law and my daughter in law hold that title. Both of them are very crafty. Probably because they are both elementary or nursery school teachers. I'm a big fan of Laura's books and own many of them. I'd love to add this one to my already overcrowded bookshelves.

Charlotte said...

I haven't don't any scrapbooking and really don't plan to start. Have no dire to learn this craft.
CABWNANA1@bellsouth.net

Nancy Luebke said...

I did scrapbooking when I was young and before it was popular. Now, I'm lucky to just get the pictures put in an album. I do put pictures with my genaolgy family pages and that's the closest I get.

Melissa @ My Recent Favorite Books said...

I have been scrapbooking for many years, and I really enjoy saving memories from fun events that my family does.
I think its a relaxing hobby! =)

Michelle Willms said...

I am the organizer of things; my sister is the artistic one in the family. I am talented when it comes to scrapbooking. My last attempt left the items glued to my fingers and nothing left for the page.

cyn209 said...

sadly, i'm not the creative type, but i praise those who have the patience to do scrapbooking....

thank you for the giveaway

Sue Farrell said...

I've never seemed to have the time for any types of crafting---but I'll be retiring soon and hope to have plenty of time for new ventures. I think I'd like to just organize all my photos first--maybe use a few scrapbooking techniques to make the photo albums attractive.
suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

bn100 said...

I don't scrapbook

Carl Scott said...

I've never done any scrapbooking but I think it might be fun. I'd probably do something based on travel and the foreign countries that I've visited.

Carl Scott said...

I do subscribe by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Never done it I'm not artistic besides have no time to do it.

Wendy Newcomb said...

I have not scrapbooked but love looking at the things people do with their albums.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

Brooke said...

I love scrapbooking! I finally got room near my computer desk to get my crafting table set back up so I can start doing it again.

lag123 said...

I have never scrap booked but my boss does and she has created some amazing projects.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

justpeachy36 said...

I love scrapbooking. I love all of the different papers and stickers you can get these days. Specific kinds of albums, large and small. All the different tools for crimping and making shapes. It's a crafter's paradise for those who love embellishing their photos.

Linda Rima said...

Love the series even though I don't do scrapbooking but I've been to a number of crops to watch friends enjoy themselves. Looking forward to this one. Thank you for the review & giveaway.

Karin said...

Have never done any scrapbooking. I always thought I'd like to learn quilting. I'd like to try embroidering dish towels too.

Susie R said...

I am not much of a scarbooker but like Carmella I an trying to add more paper crafts to my crafting