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Postcards from the Dead (A Scrapbooking Mystery) (edition 2012)

by Laura Childs

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Member:aardvark2
Title:Postcards from the Dead (A Scrapbooking Mystery)
Authors:Laura Childs
Info:Berkley Hardcover (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:mystery

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Postcards from the Dead by Laura Childs

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Postcards from the Dead, by Laura Childs, evokes memories of New Orleans with her scrapbooking series that takes place in the French Quarter.

Carmela Bertrand finds herself packed into an elegant, but aging, suite in a New Orleans French Quarter hotel. She is the owner of Memory Mine, a scrapbooking shop located on a nearby street. There is an excited buzz among all the people crowded into this room, because the countdown for Mardi Gras is on and the denizens of New Orleans are all shaking off their shackles and getting ready to "laissez les bon temps rouler." Outside, the sound of a passing parade is deafening. She is present at this gathering because she is one of several people who is to be interviewed by a not-so-friendly newscaster, Kimber Breeze.

Carmela is waiting her turn with Kimber, who is out on a balcony that overlooks one of the many parades filling the street in the days leading up to Shrove Tuesday. Before she gets her turn there is a gruesome murder. The potential witnesses find every way out of the room, as well as out of the hotel, and leave Carmela and her friend Ava to talk to the police.

Early the next morning, Carmela finds a postcard that seemingly comes from Kimber. Another that has been left on her desk at the shop and she feels compelled to begin investigating. Detective Babcock of the NOPD, as a professional investigator, not to mention as Carmela's boyfriend, takes the stance that Carmela should stick to her own job. But Carmela does have an entrée into some of the exclusive social venues where some of the key suspects will be present.

What I liked about Carmela was that she is very down to earth; not quirky at all. Although she runs a shop, she is able to pursue her investigation without distractions like frenetically trying to run errands, do housework and shop. She does have some lively friends and co-workers, who provide the quirk.

Childs presents The City That Care Forgot in a very inviting way. I was drawn to the characters and would like to read more about them. I will be reading the omnibus that introduces these protagonists in the near future.


( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
First Line: A dazzling night filled with gigantic floats, silver beads, dizzying lights, fire-twirling flambeaus, and a crowd that was fueled by too much Dixie Beer and Southern Comfort.

It is Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, one of the busiest times of year for Carmela Bertrand and her scrapbooking shop, Memory Mine. Since business still hasn't completely recovered from Hurricane Katrina, Carmela reluctantly agrees to do a puff piece on live television with her least favorite reporter, KBEZ-TV's Kimber Breeze. Instead Carmela finds Kimber's body hanging off the balcony of the Hotel Tremain.

Carmela is quite content to let the police do their job without her assistance, but when she starts finding postcards signed by the dead woman left in her shop, she and her best friend Ava decide that local law enforcement needs a helping hand.

Postcards from the Dead is a fast, enjoyable read that has two mysteries cleverly masquerading as one. (Quite fitting for Mardi Gras, isn't it?) Author Laura Childs gently led me astray on that point, so while I did deduce the identity of one killer, the second criminal was a surprise.

The strengths of this book are to be found in its two main characters, Carmela and Ava-- both strong, smart, successful and quirky women who love their work and enjoy their lives-- and in the setting itself. I loved walking the streets of the French Quarter, visiting the Garden District, and enjoying the Mardi Gras celebrations. I even learned that chicken wire plays an important part in shopkeepers' lives during this colorful, rowdy event. (Who says you can't learn anything by reading mysteries?)

Sometimes the "themes" of cozy mystery series, be they about cooking, book shops, knitting, antiques, or-- in this case-- scrapbooking, seem incidental to the books; almost as if they're just hooks to draw us in. Not so in Postcards from the Dead. As Carmela worked in her shop and taught classes to her patrons, I found the information about scrapbooking and ephemera fascinating. It's a very good thing that I'd taken care of all my errands outside the house before I plunked myself down to read, or I would have been searching out the nearest version of Memory Mine to rifle through all the goodies and bring bags of it home. Childs includes scrapbooking tips as well as recipes in the back of the book for any readers who may be interested, and I have to admit that I'm still feeling the urge to start up a new obsession.

If you're in the mood for a light, enjoyable read with thrills and laughs, Postcards from the Dead would be a perfect choice to curl up with. Worried that you've never read any of the books in this series and this is number ten? Don't be. You can read this without feeling that you're missing boatloads of information... but you may find yourself seeking out the other books in the series! ( )
  cathyskye | Oct 2, 2012 |
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After postcards signed by a murdered reporter begin showing up at her store, scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand searches for the killer.

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