Sunday, November 2, 2014

Review for Suede to Rest by Diane Vallere

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date:  November 4, 2014
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270578
E-Book ASIN: B00JJXV198

Purchase Links

About the book:

When Poly Monroe was little, she loved playing in her family’s textile store. But after a fatal family tragedy, Land of A Thousand Fabrics was boarded up and Poly never expected to see the inside again. Now, as inheritor of the long-shuttered shop, she’s ready to restore the family business. However her two new kittens, Pins and Needles, aren’t the ones causing a snag in her plans…

Not everyone wants Poly back in San Ladrón, especially a powerful local developer pressuring her to sell—and leave town fast. But even when the threats turn deadly, she’s not ready to bolt. Because Poly is beginning to suspect that the murder behind the shop is tied to a mystery in her family’s unsettled past that she’s determined to solve…before her own life is left hanging by a thread.

Fans of cozy mysteries, who also happen to like reading about crafts, will rejoice when reading Suede to Rest by Diane Vallere, the first installment in her new A Material Witness Mystery series.  A somewhat spunky heroine, a possible rival/romance interest and two of the cutest kittens take center stage in a decade old murder mystery in a small California town outside of Los Angeles.  Filled with colorful secondary characters, good dialogue and the panache of high end fabrics, Suede to Rest is definitely worth reading.

Polyester Monroe, known as Poly to everyone, has just inherited “Land of A Thousand Fabrics”, her family’s textile store.  Closed for ten years due to the tragic murder of her aunt, Poly intends to look over the store and sell it to an investor making a very generous offer.  Only nothing goes according to plan from the moment she arrives in San Ladrón, and Poly becomes determined to get to the bottom of what happened to her family and their store.  She never imagined her questions would lead to another death and threats on her life.

Ms. Vallere does an excellent job introducing us to Poly, her family history and the story behind “Land of A Thousand Fabrics”.  A woman who was literally born in the fashion industry (her mother gave birth in the store and Poly landed in a bin of Polyester fabric), Poly has a strange mixture of personal fashion taste; she wears an almost all black wardrobe, has fairly savvy business sense and a “whisperer’s” feel for fabric.  I easily connected with her and was rooting for her to solve her aunt’s murder, find her aunt’s missing one of a kind gold bracelet, and discover what she wants to do with the rest of her life. 

The secondary characters, from possible real-estate rival and possible new love interest Vaughn McMichael, to Genevieve, the owner of the local tea shop, Tea Totalers, and her own parents, give the story plenty of color, additional mystery and emotional angst.  I especially enjoyed getting to know Genevieve and Charlie, the town’s female mechanic.  I also adored Pins and Needles, the two baby kittens Poly ends up adopting for the store.  Ms. Vallere also does a good job with the mysteries in the story; there are three, and all of them are tied to her aunt’s murder, which took place ten years earlier, on the night Poly graduated from high school.  Ms. Vallere’s writing style and pace are perfect for this story.

Will Poly be able to figure out who killed her aunt before she becomes the next victim to die at “Land of A Thousand Fabrics”?  Will she leave behind her job in Los Angeles for a shiny new future in San Ladrón and a possible new romance? You’ll have to read Suede to Rest to find out.  I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the next installment, Crushed Velvet when it comes out.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.  I received no additional payment for my opinion of the reading material provided. 

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