Wednesday, February 10, 2016

#Review, #Giveaway, & Blog Tour ~ A Disguise to Die For (A Costume Shop Mystery, Book 1) by Diane Vallere

Welcome to my review of

A Disguise to Die For,

Book 1 in Diane Vallere's new Costume Shop Mystery!

A Disguise to Die For
by Diane Vallere

Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Berkley (February 2, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425278284
E-Book ASIN: B00X5936W2

About the Book:

Someone is dressed to kill in the debut Costume Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness mysteries.

No sooner does former magician’s assistant Margo Tamblyn return home to Proper City, Nevada, to run Disguise DeLimit, her family’s costume shop, when she gets her first big order. Wealthy nuisance Blitz Manners needs forty costumes for a detective-themed birthday bash. As for Blitz himself, his Sherlock Holmes is to die for—literally—when, in the middle of the festivities, Margo’s friend and party planner Ebony Welles is caught brandishing a carving knife over a very dead Blitz.

For Margo, clearing Ebony’s name is anything but elementary, especially after Ebony flees town. Now Margo is left to play real-life detective in a town full of masked motives, cloaked secrets, and veiled vendettas. But as she soon learns, even a killer disguise can’t hide a murderer in plain sight for long.


My Review:

On the edge of Las Vegas sits the small town of Proper, Nevada. A sleepy little town, Proper doesn't have much to pull in tourists. In the heart of the town sits Disguise DeLimit Costume Shop, made famous when the residents decided that costume parties were the way to go.

After leaving Proper at her father's urging, Margo Tamblyn comes back to help take care of her ailing father. This, in turn, has Margo running the costume shop. Shortly after her arrival, Blitz Manner, the town's trust fund baby, shows up with a wad of cash, demanding 40 detective costumes by the next day. His birthday extravaganza had to be relocated, now requiring a new theme.

During the party, he's found dead on the kitchen floor while the party rages on in the next room. Standing over Blitz's body is party decorator, Ebony Welles, holding the knife. Knowing that Ebony didn't do it and not feeling the local police are following the right leads, Margo finds herself amateur sleuthing to help clear her.

Diane does a great job leading the reader on several wild goose chases in A Disguise to Die For. She introduces several characters that certainly fit the bill as murderer.  These characters have the motive and the means to dispatch Blitz.  Now, as Margo piles clues that the cops overlooked, didn't know about, or dismissed, she tries to figure out who-dunit.  Things get specially confusing when she has some people telling her about a very different Blitz Manners than the rich, obnoxious mid-20's guy she was exposed to the last couple of days.

Diane Vallere has done a wonderful job constructing a new cozy mystery world incorporating a costume shop.  Margo is not a perfect heroine.  She uses the costumes in her family's shop to hide the person she truly is and that's unfortunately.  Margo is definitely not comfortable in her own skin.  She also deals with a lot of existential anxiety when it comes to the potential of losing her father -- the only parent she has.  (Have I mentioned that one of my majors in college is Psychology?)

Margo's determination to prove that her mother-figure, Ebony, is innocent and that she's somehow being set up, is admirable.  Her amateur sleuthing does cause tensions to run high.  She's smart and doesn't intentionally put herself in harm's way.  The inability to trust anyone besides her father and ebony is evident in her interactions with some of the secondary characters.

The book has depth and the plot is solid.  The dialogue between the characters is fluid and the story is fast paced.  The murderer(s) is hidden among a myriad of potential suspects and isn't easily figured out.  All-in-all this is a well written cozy mystery.

ARC review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

I am part of the Craving for Cozies Challenge 2016.  

This is Book 3 of my challenge!

See my list of Cozies here:

My Rating:

Praise for A Disguise to Die For:

I really liked the author’s writing style as it made the story just flow along.
~A. Holland Reads

Vallere is becoming my go-to author for a fun and crazy -without being over the top -read. This is my 3rd book by her and it might just be the most fun.
~I Wish I Lived In a Library

I’m already loving the Costume Shop Mysteries series after this first book. It’s witty, funny, fresh and kept my interest.
~Bubble Bath Books

Meet the Author:

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries, and the Material Witness Mysteries. Coming in Feb 2016: The new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET. The third, SILK STALKINGS, will be out in August 2016.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY; BUYER, BEWARE; THE BRIM REAPER; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE. (A short story, “Just Kidding,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK, and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL. A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE.

Author Links:




Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Joan Varner said...

I love the setting for this book. Sounds like it's a fun read.

Sapphyria said...

Thank you for stopping by today, Joan! The book was excellent - I hope, if you grab a copy, that you like it!!

Diane Vallere said...

Thank you, Sapphyria!

Sapphyria said...

You're welcome :)