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The Lanvin Murders by Angela M. Sanders
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Joanna Hayworth’s vintage shop in Portland, Oregon, was a popular destination for people who liked to wear clothes from previous eras. Her stock ranged from more expensive evening gowns and major designer names to more casual everyday dress .
One day, Marnie Evans one of her regular suppliers, brought in a magnificent fur coat with a Jeanne Lanvin label. Marnie was in her eighties and had been a dancer in a somewhat questionable hall at one time. After Marnie left and as Joanna was arranging the coat on a mannequin in the window, a small key from a safe deposit box dropped out of the lining. A few hours later, Marnie called and frantically said she needed the coat back immediately. Joanna was unable to do so that day so Marnie said she would come back first thing the next morning. Marnie didn’t show up the next day and didn’t answer her phone. She did turn up in the shop the following day, lying under the coat and definitely dead when Joanna opened the shop.
In an attempt to learn more about Marnie, Joanna tries to locate some of the people who knew her and set up a memorial service to honor her memory.
When there are more deaths and Joanna’s home is broken into, she tries to get the police to follow up on her theory of the key being the key to the crimes. They aren’t interested in her ideas.
She also has to deal with politics, a potential rival business that will likely force her out, and her relationship with a locksmith.
Knowledge of and appreciation for vintage clothing is not a prerequisite for enjoying this book. Readers will learn about it as the story moves along.
The book is an easy-read and has several twists. There is also some repetition.
It has some inconsistencies: In one place, Andrew, Joanne’s ex-husband, introduce her to someone by saying “I’d like you to meet my friend, Joanna. Joanna, this is Mrs. Porter.” One character has a first name, the second, a last name. In another situation, she got into a truck: “The seat was pushed back to accommodate Paul’s height, and she had to stretch her legs to reach the pedals.” Why didn’t she just readjust the seat?
In the Afterward, she briefly discusses the way Native American tribes have been cheated in the United States.
This book was a free Amazon download. ( )
  Judiex | Jun 23, 2015 |
"The Lanvin Murders" is a decent read for its oddball characters and unique settings. Fashioned together in this work are snapshots of Portland, dirty politics, tidbits of coture trivia, a quiet love story and an homage to disenfranchised Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.
Fans of offbeat vintage clothing shops will find themselves sorting through elegant fabrics and frocks from eras of days gone by. Music recordings croon from a record player near a rotary phone on a Tiki Bar. Old rose scented perfume will hypnotize you and carry you off and into Joanna Hayworth’s world.
Joanna, on the heels of spinsterhood buys clothes from estate sales, thrift shops, and old-school hosteses who dream of the past. One such hostess, Marnie, sells Joanna a fabulous, red Lanvin coat which harbors a great mystery and stories of those who’ve previously worn it. Marnie suffers from seller's remorse for the coat and expresses an urgent desire for its return. Too late! Marnie and the coat are united for eternity as she ends up found dead under the coat in Joanna's shop.
Who needs pompous Sherlock Holmes, itchy Clouseau or post-puberty Nancy Drew when we can have elegant Joanna Hayworth? Joanna peels back the layers of mystery of Marnie's life as if it's a fantastic chest of clothes each item with a great story connected to it.
Told in third person narrative, the characters are a little too shallow which affects their connection to the conflict and each other. However, the amount of detail Sanders knits together compensates nicely for this. Not sure if Joanna Hayworth has what it takes to sustain three books worth of mystery but as a devotee of fashion, I will try one more on for size. ( )
  BetsyKipnis | Apr 28, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0990413306, Paperback)

All Portland, Oregon, vintage clothing store owner Joanna Hayworth wants to do is turn her back on the modern world and retreat into a carefully curated life of satin cocktail gowns, icy martinis, and old movies. But when Joanna finds a key in a 1930s Lanvin coat cast off by an ex-showgirl, everything changes. The elderly woman turns up dead, and Joanna is pulled into a long-ago drama of back room deals, blackmail, and lost love. She must find a very real-and present day-killer before she becomes his next victim.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:16:20 -0400)

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