Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review and Giveaway: A Disguise to Die For

A Disguise to Die For (Costume Shop Mystery - Book 1) by Diane Vallere

Publication Date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304

(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!

Bottom Line:

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.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of A Disguise to Die For by Diane Vallere.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 23rd.

1. Please leave a comment describing your best costume ever.

2. Please fill out the FORM.


traveler said...

A costume that I enjoyed and loved was my Anne of Green gables outfit.

Linda Kish said...

I've never been real big on costumes for myself. I've only dressed up a couple of times. Once was as a flapper. That was a cute costume. I was much younger then.

holdenj said...

Best ever...hmm. I don't dress up very often, but one year, a friend needed me to be Rhoda to her Mary. I actually looked pretty good with those 70's type pants and a big scarf around my head. Looking forward so much to Vallere's new book!

Meg C. said...

I'm not really very original when it comes to costumes. Witch, cat, lady or princess out of some royal court, those were pretty much my costumes from elementary school to now. The best costumes I've ever had were probably ones my mom dressed me in when I was little, I got to be a pumpkin one year and a red crayon another. The pictures are so cute. Can't wait to read Diane's latest. Thanks for the chance to win.

Anonymous said...

Nothing very exciting. A flapper - Mom made the costume. My friend once went as a rectal thermometer.


Anonymous said...

Sorry never wore a costume.

Karen B said...

Back in the 50s a friend and I went as Hickory, Dickory Dock - dressed as clocks.

Debbie Carnes said...

One time I dressed up as Elvira, lol, not that I have a body like her (I wish lol) People knew who I was so that was a plus :)

NoraA said...

I'm really not into costume parties but one year my brother and his wife had one for Halloween. I did it on the cheap (really) by buying a bushy beard that matched my hair color and went as the carnival's bearded lady. My wife/partner went as a Geisha.

Alicia said...

Best costume ever was a clown..... Certainly not very original. :)

lkleback said...

I sewed a Pter Pan costume one year when I worked in a oublic library. The other staff members in our department dressed as other characters. It was a fun day!

Wendy Newcomb said...

I dressed up as a hobo and my husband was Dolly Parton.

wfnren at aol dot com

Unknown said...

I once went as the Marquis de Lafayette and everyone thought I was George Washington so I guess I did pretty good.

Unknown said...

I just remembered, I got a prize for dressing up as the Power Puff Girl Blossom at work so that was probably my best. I love dressing up.

Unknown said...

I just remembered, I got a prize for dressing up as the Power Puff Girl Blossom at work so that was probably my best. I love dressing up.

Unknown said...

I once went as the Marquis de Lafayette and everyone thought I was George Washington so I guess I did pretty good.

skkorman said...

I went to a Halloween party once dressed up as Groucho Marx, accompanied by two friends who dressed as Harpo and Chico Marx—it was great fun!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Carol N Wong said...

I have dressed up as a witch for Halloween, as a graduate for work but my favorite was when I was a part of an African dance group. We had pajama like pants and a top that fits over that and a pillbox type hat out if material from Africa. We played african musical instruments part of the time and it was so much fun!


Elizabeth Schroedle said...

One year for the company costume contest, my 3 friends and I went as Lottery balls. We adapted an adult pumpkin pattern costume for the lottery ball. During the parade of costumes, we were bumping into each other to simulate the lottery balls being tossed around. We won 1st place in the costume contest.

Barbara T. said...

Birthday suit?

Sue Farrell said...

I once went to a party as a sack of potatoes----just found an old burlap bag that once held potatoes and cut a hole for my head and a couple more holes for my arms---easiest costume ever.

Anonymous said...

A Monster. Had a really scary mask and scared my mother that she jumped and screamed.
Karen T.

Nancy said...

We were at a party at our church. I wore my husbands dress green Army uniform.With the hat covering a bit of my head and a painted on mustash, no one knew me for quite a while, except for my kids. It was kind of funny for a while.


I remember dressing up as a bride one year using my mother's wedding dress. I don't think I've worn a costume since junior high.

Anonymous said...

I dressed up as a mad scientist who had blown up himself during college.

orchid7 said...

I once dressed up as a vampire. I had a long, black wig, very pale face make-up, a black and red cape with a high collar, and a slinky black dress. Fangs, everything. My DH went as the Terminator that year. He spent a week making a bloody, fleshy mask with a red, glowing metal eye. He even put a dimmer switch on the eye which he kept in the pocket of his trench coat. That was fun. I think we won a contest that year.
The book looks like a fun read. Thanks for the chance to win!

Grandma Cootie said...

Has to be Halloween costume my mother made - Carmen Miranda, complete with bowl of fruit on my head. Sadly the creative gene has passed me by and all costumes after that have been pretty boring.

Monniehamilton5 said...

I dressed up like Aunt Jemima for a church party once.

Bonnie said...

I love to dress up as a pirate.

bn100 said...

no fav

Anonymous said...

Was never much into costumes. I was Alice in Wonderland as a kid.