Party time in New Orleans! Mardi Gras in the Big Easy, and part-Cajun Carmela Bertrand is right there sipping a Purple Haze at her friend Jekyl Hardy's elegant digs in the French Quarter--where else?
Carmela belongs to the French Quarter, and the French Quarter belongs to her. It's where she works at her scrapbook shop, Memory Mine, where she lives, and where she plays--often with her best pal, the flirtatious Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo Shop just across the way. Now Ava introduces her to Jeykl's handsome next-door neighbor Archie. Ava is angling for a Saturday night date with him, but it's not to be. Faster than a vampire's fang, he lies dead, garroted with knotted strands of barbed wire.
The next day, when Carmela is busy giving creative tips to her crafting customers, a distressed Jeykl drops by Memory Mine. Will Carmela do a little sleuthing, find out more about Archie and his death? (This should be no surprise to either Carmela or the reader. Death Swatch is the sixth in author Laura Childs' "Scrapbooking Mysteries" series.) How can Carmela turn down her friend? She and Ava are off on an adventure that takes them, and us, through the glamour of old New Orleans, the building of Mardi Gras floats, and some scary times in a lonely bayou in search not only of the murderer but also of long-hidden treasure.
Childs has a great eye for place and captures the Big Easy well. She manages to throw in a nice (and palatable) dose of American history and some good New Awlins cooking. The final treat is an appendix with craft hints and recipes, including the infamous Purple Haze. Try the bread pudding and "Laissez les bon temps rouler." Let the good times roll!
by Patricia Nordyke Pando
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women