New York Times best-selling author Laura Childs’ cozy Scrapbooking mysteries continue to win fans with each compelling entry. In Skeleton Letters, New Orleans scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand and her friend Ava witness a heinous crime at St. Tristan’s Church that leaves a dear friend dead and an antique crucifix missing. Together, Carmela and Ava search the French Quarter for the crucifix in hopes of finding the killer.
©2011 Gerry Schmitt & Associates, Inc. (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
So the story is okay -- I think. I had a hard time getting past how awful the narration is. Why, oh why, oh why, would you get a Valley Girl to read a New Orleans story? (FYI, "New Orleans" has 2 syllables, not 3.) I can excuse anyone from "outside" for not knowing how to procounce "Tchoupitoulas" (it's "chop-uh-two-liss", by the way), but "crawfish"? Excuse me. No matter how you spell it, it's "craw-rhymes-with-claw", not "cray-rhymes-with-clay".
Other than that, nice little story, some fairly decent local color. Main character is a little too goody-goody, the sidekick is a little tedius, but the snotty society dame is fun, and I really do know an 80-something woman named "Baby".
Won't listen to another Laura Childs unless they change narrators.
Memory Mine scrapbooking shop owner, Carmella Bertrand, and BFF and owner of JuJu Voodoo, Ava Gruiex, visit St. Tristan's Church in New Orleans' French Quarter where Ava serves on a committee. The friends hear a noise followed by a scream and a crash. A hooded figure pushed a statue onto Byrle Coopersmith killing her and stealing an ancient crucifix. She was a regular attendee at Carmella's scrapbooking classes. The culprit escaped and neither woman got a good look at the perpetrator.
Laura Childs has written an intriguing book about friendship, murder, and suspense. Carmela and Ava always seem to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite warnings from NOPD Detective Edgar Babcock/Carmela’s boyfriend, to let the police handle things, Carmela and Ava get involved as usual.
The cozy mystery has its characters doing craft stuff, while eating high calorie food and drinking wine without a care or gaining an ounce. Wish I could do that. The characters are funny, but totally unbelievable as real women. The crime was interesting, but Detective Babcok, in real life, would never allow these ladies to get involvement in homicide cases. The series is entertaining and funny much like “Murder She Wrote” with Lucy and Ethel from “I Love Lucy” as the main characters.
I kinda, sorta figured out who the murderer was about half way through but was not positive until toward the end.
This is a fun series that I have read out of order and still enjoyed as stand-alone books. NOT great mysteries but good COZY mysteries. Plus, there are craft and scrapbook ideas at the end as well as New Orleans recipes.
Loved that it had nothing to do with Mardi Gras or Halloween! Love her stories and setting in New Orleans, about other famous venues there...like the New Orleans Jazz Festival? That's what I liked about this story...setting in a church... my only criticisms are minor. First, that Byrle's family was almost entirely absent. Carmela should have interacted with them, if only to meet them. After all, Carmela had helped scrapbook Byrle's family. And if Carmela was going to offer to do a program/bulletin for the funeral, that should be worked out with family & church. That leads to the second criticism, as a Roman Catholic I can say that the funeral was not very descriptive of a Roman Catholic funeral rite which would be a Requiem Mass. The service sounded sounded like a non-liturgical protestant service.
Easy cozy mystery
Ava Greux since she exudes attitude with a capital A
The narrator gave a minimal 'performance' with little variation in the characters' voices. Also she seriously needs to learn how to pronounce New Orleans phrases and locale names. It broke the mood of the book every time she mispronounced something and she lost the opportunity to give individual character to the characters by making them all sund the same.
I enjoyed SKELETON LETTERS very much. I was rather surprised at all the subplots woven into the main storyline. Some were quite important and some were not. I didn’t know until the end which were window dressing and which really mattered. As busy as this made the entire story, nothing seemed out of place or contrived. Carmela has the unique opportunity to be involved in the business world via her scrapbook shop as well as the crème of society via her home ownership in the Garden District of New Orleans. Her circle of friends is large and varied via both venues.
There were several scrapbook and craft ideas presented by Carmela at Memory Mine. They were good tips and integrated well into the story. Several were also presented at the end of the book. The recipes that Carmela made were also given at the end. I find this approach much more likable than a list of ingredients smack in the middle of the story!
Carmela’s employee, Gabby, sums up the character Carmela when she says, “That’s what kills me about you. You’re fearless to the core and outspoken without being a diva. … And you have a keen sense of justice.” I’d say she said it just right!
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