My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Because Reading is Better Than Real Life where at the beginning of the month visitors can choose which book I’ll be reading this month. On the first saturday of a month the poll will be up, then on the second saturday of the month I’ll announce the book that won and on the last saturday of the month I’ll post my review of the book.
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, the family-owned 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 bloody 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.
Once I first heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. A cozy mystery set in a costume shop sounded just way too much fun. And this book was all that I hoped for and more. From the first pages I easily got sucked into the story and the cozy small town and the costume shop that Diane Vallere had created. There was a bit of an introduction and we meet the victim and learn about the party before the murder actually takes place. I thought this approach worked really well in this book.
The mystery was really well done. Normally in cozy mysteries it’s always a bit weird how the main character can investigate the murder alongside the detective. here it’s not as much that the main character does the investigation, but more that she’s tied into it closely as Ebony, who is like a mother to the main character, is the main suspect. Ebony finds some evidence and clues and reports most of the important things to the detective, but also does a bit of sleuthing on her own. I felt like this was handled very naturally.
I didn’t predict who the murderer was and it was a nice surprise when Margo found out who the murderer was and everything fell on it’s place. I would’ve liked a few hints in that direction, but it was nice to be surprised by the big twist. I also liked how we learn a lot about Blitz, the guy who get’s murdered during the investigation. I thought it was very nicely done how I felt like we actually knew the guy who had died and who he had been.
The main character, Margo was such a likely character. She cares strongly about her father and Ebony and she’s 100% certain Ebony hasn’t committed the murder and she wants to prove that. I also liked how she dressed into costume every day, sure it was a bit weird and quirky, but I thought it was fun and fit her character. Then there are some side characters and the small town that really comes alive. By the end of the book I was fully invested in this town and the shop and I can’t wait for the next book in this series.
This is one of the few cozy mysteries where I actually liked the romance, normally the romance in cozy mysteries is a bit meh or they have a love triangle set-up. here it was neither of those and the slow paced romance really fit the tone of the book. The love interest is a mysterious guy and Margo isn’t sure if she can trust him at first, but they slowly get to know each other and while it isn’t really a romance yet by this point, I really liked how their relationship grew in this book and I hope we get to see more of these two int eh next book. definitely a hit how the romance was handled. It didn’t take over the plot, but it did have me caring for these two and feeling their connection.
The small town setting was done well. It’s a small town close to Las Vegas which is well know for their love for costume parties. I loved getting a feel for this town and the inhabitants and I liked the feel fo the town. Then there is the costume shop where Margo her father works and I just loved the shop. It was fun to hear about what they sold and how they managed the shop. I really liked the costume shop aspect and the store really came alive in my mind and I could imagine well how it all looked.
To summarize: This is one of the best cozy mysteries I’ve read so far! It has a great and interesting mystery, the main character her involvement in the mystery felt natural and it was a nice twist who the murderer was. I liked how we got to know the victim during the investigation and get a feel for his personality. Margo is a great main character, very caring and I liked how she dressed up in costume. There is a nice cats of side characters and I liked getting a feel for the inhabitant of this small town in Nevada. I also thought the romance was really well done, it fits nicely into the story and doesn’t distract from the plot. I enjoyed seeing how their relationship slowly builds form strangers to slowly learning to trust each other and I hope to see more of these two in the next book. All in all a great start to the series and I really want to check out this author her other books as well now.