Thursday, October 15, 2015

Armoires and Arsenic by Cassie Page ****

Darling Valley is a fictional enclave (on the Marin Peninsula across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and Silicon Valley) popular with venture capital billionaires. Readers from the area might think of Sausalito.

Olivia Granville is a transplanted architect and antiques dealer from Los Angeles who, as might be expected from someone from LA, was attracted by the money, specifically the potential for ultra-rich clients. While Olivia crosses paths with a client interested in building a garage cum museum for their 100+ automobile collection, most of the people she meets are shopkeepers and millionaires. True to the SF Bay Area, millionaires are ordinary in every way, interested in their quotidian lives, and their petty jealousies and conflicts.

Armoires and Arsenic by Cassie Page  is a murder mystery which opens with Olivia taking delivery of a restored armoire, only to find it contains the restorer inside and very dead.

Since Olivia is on the brink of bankruptcy and the number-one suspect, she is forced to solve the murder herself before she is out of business. In between the long list of potential suspects, possible romances, and rumors of a newcomer's curse, this is a food and fashion mystery with ample mentions Christian Louboutins, Jimmy Choos, House of Graff baubles, and little Chloe numbers, along with delicious descriptions of pastry shops, food stores, and restaurants.

In the end, there are enough plots twists and turns (leading to a surprising climax and resolution) to satisfy any cozy mystery reader.

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