maandag 11 juli 2011

Annette Blair – Skirting the Grave

The fourth book in the Vintage Magic Mystery series, published July 2011.

Skirting the Grave

Even though Maddie is swamped running Vintage Magic and dealing with the consequences of the visions she gets from certain of her fashion treasures, she’s agreed to plan her sister Sherri’s baby shower and mentor a design intern. But when Maddie goes to the Mystic train station to pick up her new student, she finds a murder scene instead. The victim: intern Isobel York. Cause of death: suspicious circumstances.
Later that evening, a woman claiming to be Isobel appears on her doorstep, and Maddie knows it’s not just a case of “whodunit” but “who-is-it”. Luckily a gift of lusciously luxe vintage clothes offers clues, and though the ‘50s wardrobe and accessories are to die for, Maddie is determined to iron out the wrinkles before the murderer can return to put an end to a promising fashion career…

Madeira Cutler’s sister Brandy talked her into helping her with the organisation of some charity events of the foundation she is working for. And in taking an intern, a friend of a friend kind of thing. Reluctantly Maddie agrees, she just can’t say no to the whirlwind that is her younger and harebrained sister. Calling way to late to tell her she herself missed the train from New York, but Isobel should have arrived by now, so could Maddie pick her up? So Maddie has to drop everything she is doing to race over to the train station. But no-one appears to be waiting for her, and what are those emergency vehicles doing over there? When she sees the stranger lying on a bench, she is relieved. This badly dressed person cannot be her intern, but identification proves her wrong. What happened to Isobel? Foul play is not apparent immediately, but a young woman just doesn’t die from a heart attack. Her admirer Werner is investigating the case.
Then, late that night, an identical young woman comes to the house, claiming to be Isobel York. Her purse was snatched with her ID, money and trainticket, and friends brought her here at last. Maddie doesn’t know what to think of it, so she calls Werner to come over, and her of-again-on-again boyfriend Nick, who happens to work for the FBI with her brother Alex. Their relationship is of at the moment, and Werner keeps hoping to fill that position.

Maddie gets to deal with Isobel and her family. It happens she and her twinsister Giselle, and their first cousin Paxton, look all very much alike. So it is not Isobel lying in the morgue, but Paxton. As Isobel knows lots of facts about fashion, just like Maddie, she just knows it has to be the real Isobel, who is a model and wants to be a designer, and Isobel loves vintage fashion just as much as Maddie. But when they decide to trade clothes, Maddie gets in trouble when she gets a vision and passes out on the floor of her walk-in closet.
Giselle happens to be missing, no one has seen her for months, not that that is a strange thing in the York family. Her father is running for selectman, and has his campaign manager with him. His brother apparently embezzled his funds, so he turned him in, even though the money was never found. Now his niece is death. The only thing that seems to matter, is getting free publicity out of it. Which he does by giving press statements out of the hotel he hired, smearing Werner’s reputation by getting pictures of him dancing with Maddie one evening, instead of investigation his niece’s death. That it could be one or both of his daughters in danger, doesn’t seem to bother him. And then there is the grandmother who gave to trunk full of vintage clothing. When a whole rack falls upon Maddie, she is getting vision after vision, and Werner cannot wake her out of them. So, how can she prove the past without telling how she came by her knowledge?

Bit by bit the pieces of the puzzle starts to fit, and the evil reaches way back in to the past, to haunt the present York family.

With two men vying for her attention, Maddie doesn’t really know what to do. She certainly is not yet ready to settle down, after all, she helped raise her siblings after her mother’s death 20 years ago. She is busy with her shop and getting to learn her own magic skills. But she loves Nick, and misses him when he is not there. Even though her BFF Eve hates his guts. And Werner really knows how to kiss her breathless, and shares her love for 50’s music and dancing. But in the end, she has to pick a guy, she cannot let both of them hang there, and perhaps have them snatched up by someone else.

I loved the story, although not as much as the previous book. Annette Blair has a very fluent and easy reading writing style I love. Her characters are just human (okay, sometimes with a bit of magic), and humorous. If you love vintage clothing yourself, you will love the numerous descriptions of dresses and purses and whatever else goes with that. But if you are not a fashionista, like my self, you will still enjoy this lovely cozy mystery series. A great heroine, lovely secondary characters, two hot guys who both want Maddie. No love scenes though, after all, it is a cozy.

8,5 stars

1 opmerking:

  1. You just keep tempting me with these cozy mysteries :D I should take a closer look what the library has to offer. I have seen a lot of new stuff in the mystery section