About the Book
Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in A Material Witness Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: November 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads...
Unraveling family secrets can be murder in Suede to Rest...
THE FIRST BOOK IN THE ALL-NEW “MATERIAL WITNESS” MYSTERY SERIES
With her career as a dress designer in shreds, Polyester Monroe is looking forward to a fresh start. But as it all unfolds, the pattern to a new beginning looks a lot like murder.
When Poly Monroe was little, she loved playing in her family’s textile store. But after a fatal family tragedy, Land of A Thousand Fabrics was boarded up and Poly never expected to see the inside again. Now, as inheritor of the long-shuttered shop, she’s ready to restore the family business. However her two new kittens, Pins and Needles, aren’t the ones causing a snag in her plans…
Not everyone wants Poly back in San Ladrón, especially a powerful local developer pressuring her to sell—and leave town fast. But even when the threats turn deadly, she’s not ready to bolt. Because Poly is beginning to suspect that the murder behind the shop is tied to a mystery in her family’s unsettled past that she’s determined to solve…before her own life is left hanging by a thread.
INCLUDES A CRAFT PROJECT
First, I have to say that I loved the protagonist of this story – Polyester Monroe, but everyone calls her Poly. What a name – Polyester! When Poly’s uncle dies, she inherits her family’s fabric store, Land of a Thousand Fabrics. The store has been closed and boarded up since her aunt’s murder ten years ago, but her uncle continued to maintain his ownership of the place. Now that he’s gone, it’s put into Poly’s hands.
Poly takes a break from her dress designer job in Los Angeles and makes the trip to San Ladron to take care of the store, which means selling it. However, once she gets there, memories of happier times with her aunt and uncle in the store make her question what she should do. Poly becomes suspicious when she is pressured to sell, she is not so sure she’s going to leave town so fast, after all. Someone isn’t happy about her decision to stick around and makes deadly threats against her.
Poly begins snooping around and finds there may be some secrets about her family’s past that she didn’t want to know. For that matter, could any of this be connected to her aunt’s murder all those years ago? Poly intends to find out.
As soon as I started reading this one, I couldn’t put it down. The author hooks you from the start. Well, she hooked me anyway. Each character comes alive and the storyline is captivating. I found myself engrossed in this book and wanted to know what was going to happen next.
Diane Vallere is a new-to-me author, but I know she has other mystery series, which I plan to check out. This one is the first book in her new “A Material Witness Mystery” series and I will be anxiously awaiting the second book. Great kick off to a new cozy series!
FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Author Guest Post
I have fond memories of playing in fabric stores when I was young. My mom is an excellent seamstress, and often took my sister and me on trips to Levine’s, our local fabric store, to pick out patterns for new dresses, curtains, pillows, or pajamas. She’d drop me by the tables of pattern books where I’d spend hours flipping through the pages, admiring the fashionable sketches and dreaming of the possibilities. As I got older, I would wander the aisles and pick out interesting prints for clothes that I made myself.
Fabric stores are like bookstores to me. I can’t walk into one and not come out with a package. There are no better places to fritter away time! So when the idea of a cozy mystery series set in a fabric shop came to mind, I knew it was the perfect way to combine two passions. I imagined an old fabric store like the one I used to play in, one that had been around since the fifties. What treasures might be hidden inside: dusty vintage fabrics in a stockroom, new old stock of buttons, pattern books from decades past, forgotten packages of bias tape, or thick bolts of polyester double knit? Or maybe a hint of an unsolved mystery?
SUEDE TO REST, the first book in the Material Witness Mystery Series, opens with Polyester Monroe (so named because she was born inside of the store, on a bed of polyester!) standing in front of the fabric store that she’s inherited. What should be a simple transaction involving her signature on a couple of documents gets complicated when Poly decides to go inside and experience the world where she grew up one last time. She doesn’t expect to feel so connected to the store, especially since she doesn’t feel nearly that connected to the job she holds in Los Angeles. She also doesn’t expect to find a dead body in the parking lot the day after she arrives. It seems Poly has a choice: stay in San Ladrón and learn the truth about the small town’s secrets, or sign away her ownership of the store and go back to life as she knows it.
I sometimes think there is a part of all of us that wants a chance to get away from our everyday life. Inheriting the fabric store is a wakeup call for Poly. It throws her life into disarray and makes her think about whether or not her life is headed the right direction—and question what exactly is the “right” direction for her. Not that long ago, I had my own wakeup call and asked myself the same questions. That’s when I changed career paths and moved from Texas to California (where SUEDE TO REST is set). The move was scary--especially for someone who likes to plan everything! I could have stayed where I was, and I could have moved back to Pennsylvania, where I’m from. Instead, I chose the unknown door number three. The move brought new opportunities to my life and, while I haven’t had to contend with any dead bodies, I did think a lot about that somewhat spontaneous decision when writing Poly’s story. So far, things have worked out pretty well for me.
I wonder how they’ll turn out for Poly?
How would you like to win a paperback copy of Suede to Rest by Diane Vallere? Thanks to Berkley, I have one paperback to giveaway to one lucky winner.
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