Spring is in the air, but the ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop hardly have time to stop and smell the roses. Not when famed Irish dancer Emily McGlashen is found murdered in her studio just after the St. Patrick’s Day parade – and one of the Crop’s own members is the prime suspect. Vera’s dance studio may have suffered when Emily waltzed into town, but the croppers know she’s not a vengeful murderer. Lucky for her, co-scrapbooker Annie is a freelance reporter eager to vindicate her friend. What she discovers is a puzzling labyrinth of secrets that only add question marks to Emily’s murder. Just when it seems they've run out of clues, an antique scrapbook turns up and points the croppers in the right direction–and brings them face to face with a killer more twisted than a Celtic knot.
Death of an Irish Diva, by Mollie Cox Bryan, is the third novel in her Cumberland Creek Mystery series. I enjoyed my previous two "visits" to Cumberland Creek, Virginia, in Scrapbook of Secrets and Scrapped, and this "visit" is equally fun and enjoyable.
(Click here to read my reviews of Scrapbook of Secrets and Scrapped.)
The recurring characters in the series are believable, interesting, and likable. Among them are Vera, a former professional dancer who now runs a dance studio, and Vera's 83-year-old mother Beatrice. Bea is a retired quantum physicist whose late husband was a physician. Vera is recently divorced, in her mid-forties, and mother to 3-year-old Elizabeth. Vera and Beatrice are closer now; in the past, however, they had a strained relationship at times. Their interests are so different that they can have difficulty understanding each other's viewpoint.
Sheila, an avid scrapbooker and Vera's best friend since childhood, is the owner of a scrapbooking supplies shop and the host of the weekly Scrapbooking Crop for their friends. Other recurring characters and Crop members are schoolteacher Paige; DeeAnn, baker and owner of the local bakery; and Annie, freelance journalist who is also writing a book.
My favorite characters are Annie, because of her chutzpah, and Beatrice. Author Mollie Cox Bryan portrays Bea not as a stereotypical senior citizen who is slowing down physically and mentally, but as an independent, intelligent, active woman who is feisty enough to stand up for herself whenever necessary.
The storyline has a good flow to it, due in part to the unusual writing style. The narrative point of view varies from chapter to chapter, so the reader sees the plot unfold through the eyes of several characters. If a chapter ended with a cliffhanger or a teaser, I found it very hard to put the book down. When I did manage to put down Death of an Irish Diva and return to the real world, it was easy to pick right back up where I (ever so reluctantly) left off.
About the Author:
Mollie Cox Bryan writes the Cumberland Creek Mysteries, published by Kensington. The first book, Scrapbook of Secrets, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2012; the next one Scrapped, was published in January 2013. Death of an Irish Diva is the third in the series. Plans for the series include two more novels and two novellas—the first one, Scrappy Summer, will be available in summer 2014. The next book in the series, A Crafty Christmas, will be released in October 2014. She writes, gardens, runs, and scrapbooks in Waynesboro, Va. with her husband and two daughters.
Website: Mollie Cox Bryan
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Purchase Links for Death of an Irish Diva:
Barnes & Noble
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (February 4, 2014)
E-Book ASIN: B00ENMXT3G
Note: I received a review copy of Death of an Irish Diva from the publisher,
with no expectation of a positive review.
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of Death of an Irish Diva to give away to one lucky reader, US address only. Contest ends at midnight on February 13th.