Tragic Magic (A Scrapbooking Mystery)
by Laura Childs
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425229897
Date: 06 October 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Interview with Laura Childs / Show Official Info /
Carmela and Ava just can't sit back and wait for the police to find the killer when they learn that Melody's husband is the prime suspect. So, naturally they swing into action to complete the project for Melody's partner and to investigate the crime, avoiding the police as much as possible since Carmela is dating the detective in charge of the case.
There are plenty of suspects: the developer who lost the bid for the mansion; the ghost walk guide who is just plain creepy; Melody's husband (as much as they don't want to believe it); her business partner; or a jealous business rival. Childs manages to play fair and yet lead us on a merry chase after rumors, red herrings, misunderstandings, and strange incidents.
I love it when I get to the end of the book and realize the clues were all there in plain sight and yet I missed it along with the amateur sleuths until the final chapters. Tragic Magic manages to keep you reading and thinking you know more than the main characters, because they're being so dense, only to find out you don't know any more than they do. That makes a good, fun, mystery.
This is the first of the Scrapbook Mysteries that I've read. It was mainly because I'm not into scrapbooking. But, mix in New Orleans, some sassy sharp women, descriptions of great food, and a clever mystery and what's not to like. Maybe I'll even come to enjoy scrapbooking--the scenes in Memory Mine certainly made the craft sound like fun and the ideas were intriguing. However, if there is one things I don't need it's taking up a new craft, so I guess I'll just enjoy the mysteries instead of the craft. The book also includes Scrapbooking, Stamping, and Craft Tips from Laura Childs, and Favorite New Orleans Recipes (Andouille Sausage Gumbo, Mystery Muffins, Brown Sugar and Sour Cream Butter, Carmela's Cocoa Loco Pie, Parmesan Shrimp Bake, Monkey Bread, Southern Coffee Cookies, Chicken Piccata, New Orleans Roast Beef Po'Boy, Deep Fried Strawberries, and Frozen Daiquiri