LAURA CHILDS – Frill Kill.

Berkley, paperback reprint; 1st printing, October 2008. Hardcover edition: October 2007.


   Laura Childs is a one-woman fiction factory. She’s now producing books in three different series, and since 2001, there have been 17 books in those three series, already published or on their way.

   I’ll list all of the books at the end of this review. Frill Kill is the fifth one (of seven) in her series “Scrapbooking” mysteries, and from that you can guess, I’m sure, what all of her books are: craft- or food-oriented cozies.

   Not that the murder that occurs early on isn’t rather ferocious and gruesome, so much so that werewolvery is suspected, the death being that of a beautiful model shortly before Hallowe’en in downtown (post-Katrina) New Orleans. Strange hair is found at the scene, with the death itself caused by what appears to have been teeth marks.

   Finding the body – or more precisely being there at the same time the crime is committed – is Carmela Bertrand, owner of Memory Mine, a small shop specializing in scrapbook making materials – which is a far more extensive line of paper products et cetera than you might suspect.

   Aiding and abetting Carmela in her investigation of the crime is not Lt. Babcock, though she does think him rather hunky, but her friend Ava Grieux, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop just across the way. Not helping very much is Carmela’s soon-to-be ex-husband Shamus, whose stuffy family (including himself) is easily shocked by all of the escapades Carmela and Ava get into.

   As you might have guessed, descriptions of food (the setting being New Orleans) and the stock at Memory Mine take up a good portion of the book. There is no detection per se – whatever investigating that Carmela and the beautiful Ava do has little bearing on solving the mystery, which is one of those that simply seem to solve themselves, eventually.

   No matter. Laura Childs has a flair for fiction that reads smoothly, quickly and enjoyably, with a sure, deft hand on the light-hearted side. This one’s already added substantially, I’m sure, to the ranks of fans that follow her from book to book.

           SERIES —

      Tea Shop Mysteries

1. Death by Darjeeling (2001)


2. Gunpowder Green (2002)
3. Shades of Earl Grey (2003)
4. English Breakfast Murder (2003)
5. The Jasmine Moon Murder (2004)
6. Chamomile Mourning (2005)
7. Blood Orange Brewing (2006)
8. Dragonwell Dead (2007)
9. The Silver Needle Murder (2008)
10. Oolong Dead (2009)

      Scrapbooking Mysteries

1. Keepsake Crimes (2003)


2. Photo Finished (2004)
3. Bound for Murder (2004)
4. Motif for Murder (2006)
5. Frill Kill (2007)
6. Death Swatch (2008)
7. Tragic Magic (2009)

      Cackleberry Club Mysteries

1. Eggs in Purgatory (2008)


2. Eggs Benedict Arnold (2009)