Series: VINTAGE MAGIC MYSTERIES
Tulle Death Do Us Part (7/2013)
This time around, the action begins when a contractor working on an addition to Maddy's shop finds a mysterious package tucked up under the rafters. The package is wrapped in a fabric remnant, so, of course, when Maddy touches it, she is instantly transported back in time to an incident involving the wearer of the garment(actually a petticoat) that was the source of the fabric. That scene involves a group of spoiled 20-something country club guys and girls who have stolen items from other club members as part of a scavenger hunt at the club's 50th (golden) anniversary ball. The kicker is that one of their group has disappeared, apparently drowned in the cold, rough seas. Was it murder or an accident?
From that point, the main story line follows Maddy and her BFF, Eve, as they try to solve the crime with lots of assistance from Maddy's wannabe lover, Lytton Werner, a detective in the Mystic Falls police department. If you've been reading the series, you know that Maddy has been on and off with Nick Jaconetti, a handsome FBI agent, but that her real love (since childhood) has been Werner. Now, Nick has been MIA for months—far away in France in the company of Paisley (whom we met in book 5), so Maddie is free to act on her attraction to Werner—and vice versa. (SPOILER: Consummation Alert!) Another story thread involves Maddie's father and his sweetheart, Fiona, who move their romance quite a bit further along in this book.
The plot—which appears on the surface to be relatively simple—is complicated by the fact that most of the villains have two different names—the behavior-related names that Maddy assigns them during her visions (before she learns their true identities) and their real names. The author indiscriminately switches back and forth between the two sets of names, and because there are so many members of the bad-guys group, distinguishing among them can be tiresomely difficult at times.
The requisite social event, which in this series always serves as the scene of the climax and resolution, is a costume ball at which the attendees wear outfits that were worn at the Golden Anniversary Ball back in the 1970s. Maddie is a judge for the best costume award at the ball, so that gives her the opportunity to touch each dress and tuxedo and go into her trances to pick up some clues.
Maddy continues her too-cutesy behavior in this book, as she simpers and flirts with Werner and has any number of TSTL moments as she and Eve skulk about town in the middle of the night on their "sleuthing" adventures, with Werner coming to the rescue more than once. The over-the-top vintage clothing descriptions are even more numerous than usual and provide way too much detail. Paragraphs (sometimes multiple paragraphs) are spent in describing various dresses, shoes, and hats where a few words—a sentence or two at the most—would have sufficed, unless, of course, you are reading this for the clothing descriptions and not the mystery.
To summarize...this is another almost identical book in a featherweight, medium-quality paranormal chick lit series. If you enjoyed the previous books, you'll probably like this one. The book could be read as a stand-alone because there isn't much past history that affects the story line.
BOOK 1: A Veiled Deception
As the series opens, Maddie goes home to Mystic Falls, Connecticut, for Sherry's wedding and immediately becomes involved in a murder mystery when the "Jezebel" who tries to steal Sherry's fiancé is found murdered—strangled with Sherry's bridal veil. Of course, Sherry is the prime suspect, and Maddy must solve the case in order to clear her sister's name. In the meantime, when Maddie begins to alter Sherry's vintage wedding gown (an heirloom from her fiancé's family) she has a vision, and she thinks it may include clues to the murder.
As Maddie tries to solve the case, she has to dig deeply into the past. During her non-sleuthing moments, Maddie acquires an old haunted funeral home where she plans to open Vintage Magic, her very own vintage clothing and design shop. Her resident ghost is Dante Underhill, debonair man about town and former owner of the funeral home, who can't leave the building and is happy to serve as Maddie's night watchman.
BOOK 3: Death by Diamonds