Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: A Veiled Deception by Annette Blair

A Veiled Deception
Annette Blair

With years of experience working for a top New York designer, Madeira Cutler has learned to appreciate the clean line, rich texture, and elegant draping of a finely crafted garment. It's not until Maddie goes home to Mystick Falls, Connecticut, for her sister's wedding, however, that she discovers her understanding of fashion goes much deeper...
Before the accessory shopping and fittings can begin, the festivities hit a snag when Maddie finds her sister's nemesis strangled with the bride-to-be's veil. In between opening her own vintage clothing shop and keeping the wedding on track, Maddie's determined to perform her own investigation to clear her family's name. She soon finds that her best witness may be an antique wedding dress that magically unveils to her the secrets of those who have worn it. But if the gown doesn't talk fast enough, the lives of everyone Maddie loves will surely fall apart at the seams.

Berkley Prime Crime


Rosy's scrawlings on A Veiled Deception
A Veiled Deception begins with a murder at a wedding. Well, during its preparations anyway. It initial seems like a fairly ordinary story as far as murder mysteries go, fitting in with murders at funerals and other ceremonial occasions. Except that the one attempting to solve the murder and clear the family name, in particular her sisters, is a budding psychic who sees visions of the past wearers by touching the vintage clothes. Any old clothes won't do, they have to be the ones that have stored the significant memories and events. Madeira Cutler doesn't really know what is going on and what to make of it but she knows she must clear her family so that the wedding can be held.
This story, mostly about vintage clothes and a psychic holds other delights like a Wiccan lawyer, a goth girl, a future mother-in-law who wants to marry her son to someone else, a bitchy rival bride, a hot FBI agent sometimes boyfriend and a detective with the unfortunate nickname of Weinner. There's also a series of trippy visions as Madeira touches the VanCortland family heirloom wedding gown. There's a lot of play in this story, from the strange plot to the antics between the odd group of characters, making it a fun and engaging crime read. The mood is far lighter than you usually expect from crime stories but this seems to be a trend for the lady detectives featured in Berkley Prime Crime stories - at least as far as I've experienced.
Madeira is a lady detective of the new age. Unlike the original lady detectives she doesn't always mind her manners, or care to. She's also highly active and free to run about chasing down leads where previous lady detectives wouldn't be seen running unless they had to. Coming from an industry where fashion is everything Madeira is a lady with a rough business side and a more feminine appreciation for all things beautiful. She is, in other words, a lady of the modern era and one most women nowadays can follow with amusement, even if they themselves aren't really into fashion (moi).
Overall the story is fast paced, lively and ends well. There's a large range of quirky characters to become interested in, a list that only increases to incorporate a ghost or two in the following books. The plot is interesting and not what you'd normally expect from a crime novel, despite having some features you'd recognise, and the mood is mostly light throughout. Even in the tensest moments there's more life and activity than usually found in grim and gritty crime stories.

I'd recommend this book to: women who like gentile crime stories or murder mysteries in general.

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