06 September 2012

Murder and Lace

Murder Unmentionable (A Sweet Nothings Lingerie Mystery) by Meg London (Berkley mass market pb, 4 September 2012).

Emma Taylor gives up a promising future in the fashion industry to return to Paris, Tennessee to help her Aunt Arabella revive her lingerie boutique, Sweet Nothings.  Excited about hanging out with her old friend Liz (and maybe Liz's brother Brian) she doesn't mention anything about leaving behind Guy Richard, the philandering photographer she'd been seeing.

But Guy turns up on the doorstep of the shop a few days after she arrives, bearing flowers and remorse.  He talks Emma into meeting him for dinner at Paris' fanciest restaurant so that he can apologize. 

But when Emma walks into L'Etoile and sees a model named Nikki draped all over Guy, she immediately turns around and leaves.  She returns to her apartment above the shop to drown her sorrows in wine and chocolate.  The next morning she's awakened by the sound of screaming.

The screamer is Arabella, who has just walked into the shop and discovered Guy's body lying in a puddle of blood.  Emma's ex had been killed by a blow to the head, and his bitter ex-girlfriend (Emma) is the prime suspect of the bumbling local police.

Of course Emma and Arabella are anxious to prove her innocence, so with the help of Liz and Brian they begin their own investigation.

Too many of the minor characters are stereotypes:  the closed-minded small-town policeman, the blonde bimbo model, the flamboyant elderly Russian tarot reader. 

But Emma is a charming and intelligent protagonist, and a romance developing between her and Brian is happily anticipated.  Looking forward to it in book two!

FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me a copy of the book for review purposes.

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