Dressed to Confess (A Costume Shop Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Nevada
Release Date – August 1, 2017
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01N2GJ2TP
Costume shop owner Margo Tamblyn faces a deadly conspiracy when a small-town festival turns into big-time trouble.
It’s no secret around Proper City, Nevada, that the Sagebrush Festival, the town’s annual family-friendly event, is the place to be. This year’s theme of board games has everything from Conspiracy to Clue. Margo Tamblyn’s costume shop, Disguise DeLimit, has been tasked with providing costumes for the festival headliner, the Domino Divas. But on the night of the performance, one fallen Domino threatens to bring down the whole show when head dancer Ronnie Cass is found in her dressing room, unmasked, unprepared, and very, very dead.
As the police investigate, Margo learns that Don Digby, her father’s best friend, is the prime suspect, tied to the victim by an unsolved robbery connected to Proper City’s past. As conspiracies abound and theories are debunked, Margo seeks to unmask the real killer before her dad’s buddy winds up in a costume made with prison stripes.
It’s time for the Sagebrush Festival in Proper City, Nevada. The theme this year is board games and Ebony has planned the perfect event. The headlining act is a “Blast from the Past”, the Domino Divas, a group that has not performed together for 50 years. Margo has been tasked with making their costumes and helps Ebony out by watching the final rehearsal and handling any dust ups between the Divas.
The festival opens with a standing room only crowd to see the Domino Divas but Margo is short one Diva. The mayor is livid as Margo heads to the Diva’s trailer/dressing room where she finds one very dead Diva. The festival is shutdown for the night so the police can launch their investigation but they quickly point the finger at Don Digby, her dad’s best friend. Seems he and the dead diva, Ronnie Cass had a relationship way back when and there was also a robbery that took place the last night the Diva’s performed and they believe he was involved as that as well. Margo doesn’t believe a word of it so she starts investigating both the murder and the robbery before Don is sent directly to jail, with no $200, no Get Out of Jail Free card, and no roll of the dice.
The board game theme of this story really appealed to me. There was a time when every game mentioned and a few more filled shelves in our family room. Now the kids are older and the games have been packed away for the next generation. I would love to go to the Sagebrush Festival and play them life size. It would be so much fun.
Sadly a murder mires down the happiness the festival should provide. The mayor had the “show must go on” attitude but the community wasn’t really ready for fun and games. Although it did enable Margo to interview people connected to the victim and find some really nice clues.
The plot developed at an excellent pace. The robbery subplot was nicely meshed with the murder mystery. I enjoyed learning more about the history of Proper City. It has become one of my favorite cozy settings.
All the characters we loved from previous books return. The Divas were an interesting group that became some of Margo’s prime suspects. The new publicist for the town was also introduced. An unusual man, everything was a promotion gimmick to him, every photo opportunity was taken, all posted to social media. He did get people to come out for the festival and then had to spin some of his plans after the murder occurred.
Margo creates costumes for not only the performers but 100 teddy bears too. She also created more for the Disguise De Limit’s store window and herself. I was just bowled over my her creativity. She is passionate about her business, she strives to make her family business a success, even if it means staying up all night. It makes be long for the days when I was sewing and creating costumes for my children.
Diane Vallere has a real winner with this series. Wonderful mysteries, colorful characters and a fantastic setting just a few miles from Las Vegas. With a little bit of humor and a touch of romance the story has everything I love about cozies mysteries. A perfect escape any time of year.
About The Author
I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries, and the Material Witness Mysteries.
The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series, will be out in October 2016, just in time for Halloween.
The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET . The third, SILK STALKINGS, was just released.
The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.
The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK ,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”