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Crushed Velvet by Diane Vallere
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Diane Vallere's Material Witness series is probably my favorite new cozy series. In Crushed Velvet, you'll find a very good mystery with plenty of misdirection, although it's not Poly's fault. She keeps trying to shove Sheriff Clark in the right direction-- she knows that her shipment of velvet has something to do with the murder-- but the "something" turns out to be a total surprise.

Vallere has also assembled a first-rate cast. Poly is a perfect blend of smarts and sass, and it's a pleasure to follow her around while she's investigating. Genevieve (tea shop owner) and Charlie (resident mechanic) not only have interesting backgrounds of their own, they make the best kind of girlfriends for Poly. And the chemistry between Poly and Vaughn sizzles and pops as they stumble around getting to know one another. It's also wonderful to see the main character in a cozy series who actually has two loving parents. Too often one parent (or both) behave like escapees from a mental institution. I even have my eye on Poly's busybody next-door shop owner, although I don't know if I want her to be the dead body or just charged with murder. (Can you tell I'm enjoying these books?)

Another facet in this Material Witness series is the real estate developers and finance companies focused on this small California town. These folks are back deep in the shadows and remind me of vultures waiting for something to die. It can be easy to forget they're there-- but don't.

Like the first book, Suede to Rest, Vallere continues to lure me with fabrics, and I don't even like to sew. In that first book, I was disappointed that Poly didn't finish the transformation of Genevieve's tea shop. Well, she doesn't finish it here either, but the process is absolutely fascinating. Vallere makes me feel as though I've had a hand in it all.

I'm hoping that the opening of Material Girl will be a wild and unequivocal success because I can't wait for the next book in the series! ( )
  cathyskye | Oct 22, 2015 |
If I had material like CRUSHED VELVET to read all the time, I could zip through books faster than running my nylons or snagging my cotton blends.

I am such a fan of the Material Witness Mystery series. Book one, SUEDE TO REST was a great first installment, but it doesn’t compare to the wonderfully textured read that is CRUSHED VELVET.

I hardly put this book down from the moment I opened it until sadly, it was over, with no more to read. I simply didn’t want it to end. Between the wonderful writing, twists and turns, delightful characters like Polyester Monroe, and adorably punny shop names such as Material Girl and Flowers In The Attic, this book kept a smile on my face the entire time I was reading.

Author Diane Vallere has sewn together a mystery that mixed just the right weave of intrigue, action, and humor to make this cozy whodunit a serious contender for my favorite book of the 2015. It is for sure in my top 5 favorites.

Stitch together some time for reading and add CRUSHED VELVET to your “must read” list. If you haven’t read the first book. SUEDE TO REST, get them both and read them back to back. You’re going to love them!

And don’t miss the fun craft project, and excerpt from SILK STALKINGS, book three in the fantastic series! ( )
  LisaKsBookReviews | Aug 3, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425270580, Mass Market Paperback)

“Diane Vallere has stitched up an engaging new series.”—Sofie Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of the Magical Cats Mysteries

Fabric shop owner Polyester Monroe is back in business—this time getting wrapped up in a diabolical but crafty case of murder.

With opening day of Material Girl approaching, Poly is stocking up on lush fabrics, colorful notions, and best of all, a proprietary weave of velvet. But upon delivery, it’s not quite the blend she expected, being ninety-percent silk and ten-percent corpse. Crushed under a dozen bolts of fabric is Phil Girard. His wife, Genevieve, local tea shop owner and close friend of Poly, is the prime suspect.

Granted, Phil may not have been the perfect husband, but surely Genevieve had no reason to kill him! There’s just the small matter of Genevieve’s own incriminating confession: I’m afraid I killed my husband. Now, as Material Girl’s grand opening looms, Poly is torn between a friendship pulling apart at the seams—and finding a smooth killer with a velvet touch…

INCLUDES A CRAFT PROJECT

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 26 Jul 2015 18:49:40 -0400)

Fabric shop owner Polyester Monroe is back in business--this time getting wrapped up in a diabolical but crafty case of murder. With opening day of Material Girl approaching, Poly is stocking up on lush fabrics, colorful notions, and best of all, a proprietary weave of velvet. But upon delivery, it's not quite the blend she expected, being ninety-percent silk and ten-percent corpse. Crushed under a dozen bolts of fabric is Phil Girard. His wife, Genevieve, local tea shop owner and close friend of Poly, is the prime suspect. Granted, Phil may not have been the perfect husband, but surely Genevieve had no reason to kill him! There's just the small matter of Genevieve's own incriminating confession: I'm afraid I killed my husband. Now, as Material Girl's grand opening looms, Poly is torn between a friendship pulling apart at the seams--and finding a smooth killer with a velvet touch.… (more)

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