Publication Date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes
Diane Vallere on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Excerpt from A Disguise to Die For, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
Someone is dressed to kill in the debut Costume Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness mysteries.
No sooner does former magician’s assistant Margo Tamblyn return home to Proper City, Nevada, to run Disguise DeLimit, her family’s costume shop, than she gets her first big order. Wealthy nuisance Blitz Manners needs forty costumes for a detective-themed birthday bash. As for Blitz himself, his Sherlock Holmes is to die for—literally—when, in the middle of the festivities, Margo’s friend and party planner Ebony Welles is caught brandishing a carving knife over a very dead Blitz.
For Margo, clearing Ebony’s name is anything but elementary, especially after Ebony flees town. Now Margo is left to play real-life detective in a town full of masked motives, cloaked secrets, and veiled vendettas. But as she soon learns, even a killer disguise can’t hide a murderer in plain sight for long.
Diane Vallere brings readers the first book in a new series. The Costume Shop mystery series begins with A Disguise to Die For. The author gives readers a unique setting and a fun twist on the cozy genre. Vallere makes being in costume seem the norm instead of the weird. The Nevada setting is exotic, yet Proper still has that small town feel to it. It's not Vegas but it provides a great backdrop for some very eclectic characters. Readers looking for something new in a cozy will find this one irresistible.
What I liked:
I love cozy mysteries. It's a fact. But when you read about 15 a month you see a lot of repetition. Whether it be in the type of characters, the setting or the daytime job of the hero or heroine some things get old. I've read tons of books about cats, about food, about books. But Diane Vallere's new book is the first cozy I have read that has a costume shop theme. It's unique and different. It provides a completely uncommon feel to the book. Great atmosphere and characters that are a bit quirky but certainly fit the profile. Vallere excels here.
Margo Tamblyn is the heroine of this series. She's a magicians assistant that returns home to Proper, Nevada to help out her ailing father. That's a plus for her right off the bat. She cares about family, a good trait for someone you want to connect with when you read. She's smart and she's sassy. I like that in a character and in a person. I liked the fact that she was eccentric in her own way, wearing costumes gleaned from the shop everyday and not being afraid to make waves as she investigates the murder of a local big shot. Definitely, a character I want to keep an eye on.
The murder itself was interesting. Blitz Manners is having a birthday party, a costume detective party it seems and Deguise DeLimit, Margo's shop is to provide the costumes. A friend of Margo's, Ebony ones a party planning business and she's providing the food. Unfortunately, when Blitz ends up dead, Ebony also provides the cops with a prime suspect. There was motive galore here. Plenty of people had it in for this guy. Vallere gives reads a mystery that is clouded in intrigue and the whole costume theme of the town just adds to the magic. Such a great idea. I didn't figure this one out until the big reveal at the end. It was well thought out and had plenty of red herrings to through the reader off.
What I didn't like:
Some readers will find this one a little too over the top. You have a lot of mystery purists out there that think every single book should be completely believable. These are not your readers of paranormal cozies or cozies with talking cats. They want every aspect of the book to be something that would happen in the real world. I think they might have issues with a costume wearing amateur detective, and the whole affluent wealthy town whose inhabitants live for costume events. Hmmm sounds like Hollywood... LOL!
You gotta try this one. It's a rare thing to find a good cozy series with a unique theme and premise. This one hit the spot for me. I read to escape and lately I've needed more escape than usual and this book provided that. It's a well written mystery that will keep readers guessing. You don't want to miss it. It's a book 1, a great place to start.
A Disguise to Die For is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
I'm a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I'm writing four series: the Style & Error, Madison Night, Material Witness, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!
The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET. The third, SILK STALKINGS, will be out in August 2016.
The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY; BUYER, BEWARE; THE BRIM REAPER; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE. (A short story, "Just Kidding," tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.
The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK, THAT TOUCH OF INK, and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL. A prequel novella, "Midnight Ice," can be found in OTHER PEOPLE'S BAGGAGE.
And the Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series, will be out in October 2016, just in time for Halloween.
I love to hear from readers! You can connect with me on twitter (@dianevallere) or say hi on Facebook. Telepathy works, too. Sometimes.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of A Disguise to Die For by Diane Vallere.
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~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 23rd.
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