Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Salon - Fiber & Brimstone by Laura Childs

With Halloween just around the corner, there’s no better place to visit than New Orleans with it’s many myths and legends, famous haunted houses and cemeteries, and an amateur sleuth that can find a killer and design a crafty page for your scrapbook all in a day’s work.

Carmela Bertrand, owner of Memory Mine Scrapbooking Shop, and her best friend, Ava Gruiex, owner of Juju Voodoo, are at it again. This time they were working on a puppet for the New Orleans’ Monsters and Mayhem Parade to celebrate Halloween.

Sounds harmless, right? But not when Carmela and Ava are involved. They’re working on the monster puppet at the Pluvius krewe’s float den when they hear a piercing scream. Rushing outside they discover Brett Fowler, captain of Pluvius krewe and senior partner of Emerald Equities. He’s been murdered by a minotaur head.

Investigating the death is Homicide Detective Edgar Babcock, who Carmela has been seeing since her divorce from her womanizing husband, Shamus Meechum. He asked Carmela not to get involved in the investigation, but she thinks he’s not looking at all the possible suspects. Tension builds between the two as Carmela begins to do some snooping on her own, with Ava’s help.

The list of suspects begins to grow with Carmela’s friend, Jekyl Hardy at the top of the list. Jekyl, premier Marde Gras float designer and art appraiser, had been the last one seen with Fowler and they had had a disagreement.

While trying to sort out who wanted Brett dead, Carmela and Ava attend Ballet Dracula where Jekyl is performing in the chorus. They’re invited backstage after the ballet for a party. On the way to the restroom backstage, they get turned around and discover a second body.

Things continue to point to Jekyl as this murder victim was his biggest rival. Carmela is more determine than ever to find the killer and help her friend. But while she’s searching for the killer, the killer already has her and Ava in his sights. As the day of the Monsters and Mayhem Parade arrives, Carmela is closer to the killer than she images.

Author Laura Childs blends the history, architecture and cuisine of New Orleans with a spine-tingling murder mystery. In addition to the story that keeps you guessing whodunit until the end, there are scrapbook tips and tricks as well as favorite New Orleans recipes in the back of the book. Some of the recipes include “Pork and Sweet Potato Bayou Casserole,” “Jezebel Sauce,” and “Neon Voodoo Cocktail” just to name a few.

FIBER & BRIMSTONE is the eighth installment in the Scrapbooking Mystery series, but it’s a stand alone book. The author hints just enough about prior exploits to peak your curiosity, but not leave you in the dark with the current tour de force. If you shy away from this just because it’s dubbed a ‘Scrapbooking’ mystery, you’ll be missing a tantalizing read.

Author Laura Childs’ website is

Fiber & Brimstone, A Scrapbooking Mystery by Laura Childs, Berkley Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-425-23674-1, 336 pages, hardcover.

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the author and the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


  1. Eoyed several of the books in this series! Love the setting. My Sunday Salon has a list of Halloween mysteries you might like!

  2. I absolutely love Laura's settings--both New Orleans and Charleston! I'm a fan. :) Can't wait to read this one...

  3. Mason - Thanks for this review. That New Orleans setting is just irresistible, isn't it?? Some places are just made for murder and mayhem ;-).

  4. Harvee, this is the second book in this series I've read and enjoyed both very much. I popped over and you do have a great list of Halloween mysteries.

    Elizabeth, I first fell in love with the Charleston setting through the Tea Shop Mysteries and now adorable all three series.

    Margot, New Orleans would definitely be one of the 'hot' places to be on Halloween. There is so much history there it does lend itself as a great backdrop.

  5. I can't wait! I really enjoy both of LC's series and think she did a great job in New Orleans incorporating the issues from Katrina.

  6. I like that she has a little bit of everything in this book, New Orleans history, scrapbooking, and a good story too!

  7. Julia, I agree she did a good job including Katrina issues with her story. She mentions it again in this one as well.

    Joanne, there is a little bit of everything in her books. I'm not a scrapbooker but it did peak my interest a bit. LOL

    Alex, I agree New Orleans is a great setting for just about any type book.

  8. Oh, I've always loved books set in New Orleans (and movies!), and someday I want to go there. But until then, isn't it great when writers take us there?

    This one sounds wonderful. Enjoy!!

    Here's my salon:

    Click my name for the URL

  9. Sounds like a terrific read! New Orleans is definitely on my list of places I really want to visit! :)

  10. Laurel-Rain and Jemi, I'm with you two. I'd love to visit New Orleans.

  11. What a great sounding book! I hope to visit New Orleans someday too. I'll meet you there. :)

  12. New Orleans is a great setting. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's protagonists Special Agent Pendergast hails from the Crescent City so much of that setting takes place there.

    Stephen Tremp

  13. Sounds like an interesting book..and I love New Orleans.

  14. Sounds fascinating...especially set in New Orleans. I'm going to go check it out. Thanks for posting this!

  15. Teresa, sounds good to me. We'll try out all the great restaurants.

    Diane, it is a cool book.

    Stephen, I had forgotten about Special Agent Pendergast and New Orleans. Now if Pendergast and Carmela could meet that would be an interesting pair.

    Lynda, it is an interesting book with lots of extras.

    Ann, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  16. Hi Mason and Laura .. for an English 'girl' who's never visited New Orleans and always wanted to .. this sounds so interesting .. getting some background ideas as to the history, and some great foodie ideas .. as well as have a weaving of murder intrigue .. sounds great fun ..

    Added to the book list .. thanks - Hilary


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