Postcards From the Dead
Publisher: Penguin Group
Line: Berkley Hardcover
Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Retail Price: 25.95
New Orleans is in the throes of another fantastic Mardi Gras celebration when the party gets crashed by a murderer. Now a scrapbooking sleuth is going to have to stop the partying to catch the killer…
There’s a parade rolling through the historic French Quarter, with gigantic floats, silver beads, and dizzying lights—and Kimber Breeze of KBEZ-TV is broadcasting live from a small balcony on the fourth floor of the Hotel Tremain, interviewing locals and capturing the spectacle down below. Her next subject will be Carmela Bertrand, owner of Memory Mine scrapbooking shop. Carmela has never been a fan of Kimber, but she isn’t about to turn down the chance of good publicity for her shop.
But before Carmela’s shop gets its five minutes of fame, a killer slips onto the balcony and strangles Kimber with a cord, leaving her body dangling above the parade. Carmela is horrified, but she quickly discovers the nightmare isn’t over. Because someone is now leaving strange postcards at Carmela’s shop—signed by the dead Kimber. Now Carmela and her friend Ava will have to risk their own necks to find out who’s posing as a ghost—and to expose a killer…
INCLUDES SCRAPBOOKING TIPS
Series: A Scrapbooking Mystery
For fans of: Maddy Hunter
It’s Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, and while the increased tourist traffic has been good for local retailers, business could always be better. So when KBEZ-TV invites Memory Mine scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Juju Voodoo proprietress Ava Grieux, to a locals-only parade-watching party at a hotel suite and asks to interview them about the festivities, they jump at the chance; more publicity’s never a bad thing, right? But before either woman can take a turn in front of the camera, the unthinkable happens: someone uses a cord to strangle reporter Kimber Breeze and then hangs her body off the suite’s balcony.
Poor Carmela’s the one who discovers the woman’s lifeless form, and as if the experience weren’t traumatic enough, she soon starts receiving creepy postcards purporting to be from none other than Kimber herself. Who killed the young reporter, and why? Is the killer the one responsible for the postcards? If so, what is he or she hoping to accomplish in sending them? Carmela must get to the bottom of the mysteries swirling around Kimber’s death, or this Mardi Gras could very well be her last…
Postcards from the Dead is the tenth of Laura Childs’ Scrapbooking Mysteries, and it’s my favorite of the series to date. If you’ve ever read any of my reviews of Childs’ other books, you know I think she has an unfortunate propensity for extraordinarily florid prose; yes, her descriptions are beautifully lush and vivid, but historically, she’s attached said descriptions to everything and everyone (literally), making it exceedingly difficult to get into the flow of her stories. I’m happy to report, however, that such is not the case with Postcards from the Dead. Childs doles out the details much more sparingly this time around, the end result being a leaner, meaner, more quickly paced and tightly plotted book. And the details she does provide are used to great effect, successfully bringing New Orleans to life on the page – a city electric and alive, pulsing with light and sound and color and excitement.
Childs’ character work has improved, as well. I haven’t always been a big fan of Carmela in the past, but she’s much less overwrought here than in previous installments, and Childs does a much better job developing her as a character. Her friendship with Ava, in particular, makes her a warmer, more genuine, and more likable person, and the scenes the two share are among the book’s most compelling. Carmela’s relationship with her boyfriend, Lieutenant Edgar Babcock, is much more realistic and convincing this time around, as well; I actually buy that the two care deeply about one another, and their chemistry is palpable.
I’ll confess, Childs doesn’t exactly stick the landing with this book – the final showdown isn’t all that thrilling, and her mystery has a rather unsatisfying conclusion – but the setup is unique, the plot is fun, and Childs manages to keep the drama and the tension high throughout.
Looking for the chance to do Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but don’t quite have the time or the money? Pick up Postcards from the Dead by Laura Childs. It’s the Big Easy with all of the charm and none of the smarm, and it’s an entertaining yarn, to boot.
Reviewed by Kat N.
Your ReviewYou must register before posting a comment.
Click to login
There are no comments to displayYou must register before posting a comment.
Click to login