The Decorator Who Knew Too Much (Madison Night Mystery #4) by Diane Vallere
Rating: Very Good
Description: When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons.
She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life.
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: I've read several other books by Diane Vallere and always enjoyed them. I liked the sound of Madison.
My Impression: It took me awhile to write this review because I had to take a break to watch a movie marathon of Doris Day movies (Pillow Talk is pretty great and who knew Doris Day was in a Hitchcock film!) and paint my bathroom aqua. I'm pretty sure that Diane Vallere is incapable of writing a mystery that's not entertaining and this one is no exception!
For starters I really loved Madison. There were times I wanted to shake her a bit for not relying on Hudson more but it does make sense. Not only does she have serious baggage that keeps her from feeling comfortable opening up to people but she also is simply used to taking care of herself. She's intelligent and does purposely put herself in harm's way though she doesn't hesitate to ask some questions that might put her there. I especially enjoyed that events from previous books have had some psychological ramifications. So often in mysteries the amateur sleuth will go through a terrifying experience and be perfectly fine which also seems a little off. Madison's dealing with nightmares and a few other issues that made her even more interesting and sympathetic. Don't worry though - if you haven't read the previous books Vallere includes just enough about previous events to make everything make sense so it's safe to jump in here. There is quite a lot of descriptions about Madison's outfits which I really enjoyed. I especially loved that Vallere included the pattern maker and number. It was fun to look them up and see what images I could find.
All this character development did not get in the way of a good mystery which I must say had me scratching my head until the reveal. There are lots of red herrings and perfectly reasonable suspects as well as things being far more complicated than they seemed. Between the pace of the mystery and my enjoyment of the characters this proved to be a fast and entertaining read. I'm looking forward to visiting Madison again and seeing what trouble she gets up to in the future.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! Diane Vallere is a mystery author whose books I always enjoy and this is a series I'm excited to continue with. Actually, I just discovered I have the 3rd book in this series on my Kindle so I'm really looking forward to reading it soon.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Absolutely! If you enjoy a cozy mystery don't miss this series and don't worry you can jump in on this book with no problem.