Silk Stalkings (A Material Witness Mystery #3) by Diane Vallere
Rating: Very Good
Description: Fabric shop owner Polyester Monroe can get tangled up in textiles, but it's murder that really throws her for a loop in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Crushed Velvet. The time has com for San Ladron, California's anual Miss Tangorli beauty pageant, and Poly has agreed to use Material Girl's inventory of shimmery silks to create embellished gowns fit for a crown. But when millionaire Harvey Halliwell, the man who revived the city's citrus trade with his imported tangorli tree - is found dead days before the pageant contestants are announced, something sour takes over the town. To make matters worse, her friend, mechanic Charlie Brooks, is soon caught up in the crime, having been seen in the company of the case's prime suspect. Now Poly's on a mission to squeeze out the truth. But as she searches for a pattern, the killer seems intent on cutting up the evidence... (from Goodreads)
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: Diane Vallere is pretty much my go-to author when I want a fun cozy mystery and I really like this series featuring Poly who owns a fabric store.
My Impression: Can I live in Diane Vallere's world? There's a bath store named Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble. There's rather interesting sounding citrus, an adorable sounding tea shop full of delicious sounding treats, and a fabric store that I'd gladly spend hours in even though I don't even sew. Add in some characters who are flawed but likable and willing to listen even if their first impulse is to be defensive and I'd move to San Ladron right now! And did I mention the bath store?
Despite the fact that I'm quite sure she'd get me into trouble Poly is definitely a main character I would want to hang out with. She's got a sense of humor, she's smart, passionate about what she does, and incredibly curious about things that don't add up. She's also willing to think about situations from other people's POV and make amends if needed. I love when she really thought about her argument with Vaughn and will willing to admit that she had messed up;. I also liked that once he had cooled down Vaughn was willing to listen. I love Genevieve too and her willingness to go along with Poly's nosiness. Not everyone in the town are candidates for a new BFF but no one comes off as straight villain or perfect. Every character has good and bad aspects though one can definitely outweigh the other.
The mystery itself is what I've come to expect from Vallere's books. It's cleverly woven into the story and not everything is as it seems. Poly's presence in the investigation made sense and wasn't strictly because she's nosy. While I did guess the killer at around the halfway point it was more because I read a lot of mysteries than anything being too obvious.And even though I had guessed who it was I wasn't sure I was right or how everything would be revealed until the very end. While the characters of the book lean towards wackiness and the store names are on the cutesy side they mystery itself isn't wacky or cutesy but instead is solid, well done, and page turning.
This is a fun mystery with likable characters and a setting I'm always glad to revisit. This is the 3rd book in the Material Witness series and the 2nd one I've read. Like most mysteries you can jump in wherever you like without too much trouble. With an amateur detective and the bulk of the violence happening mostly off page it definitely meets the cozy mystery definition but I think it would appeal to anyone who is looking for an entertaining read. Diane Vallere is one of my favorite mystery authors and I can't wait for the next book!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I'm already looking forward to the next book in this or the costume shop mystery series.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Definitely! This is such a fun series and I love her other books as well.