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 www.laurachilds.com
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.