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Suede to Rest
Material Witness Mystery #1
Diane Vallere

Berkley Prime Crime
November 4, 2014/ ISBN 978-0-425-27057-8
Mystery / Cozy / Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds


Polyester Monroe was given her birth name because she was born in her family's textile store. Her friends call her Poly, and she has recently inherited the Land of a Thousand Fabrics, from her grandfather. She's returned to San Ladrón to sign the papers to sell the shop, and then head home to Los Angeles, to her job and boyfriend.

There's a long standing mystery about Land of a Thousand Fabrics involving the murder of her grandmother and a missing priceless bracelet. Poly starts to rethink selling the store, wondering if it couldn't be reinvented and restored into her dream business of designing elegant dresses made with quality fabrics.

However, it seems someone doesn't want Poly to stick around. There is a wealthy family, the McMichaels, who own a great deal of property in the area. The patriarch, Vic McMichael, is determined to buy the store from her. His son, the handsome Vaughn, seems to be on Poly's side, but is he really, or is he secretly working for his father's cause?

Poly's torn. Should she stay in town and keep the shop? She has two new kittens named Pins and Needles to take care of, and she can't take them back to LA. Her boyfriend is being more obnoxious than usual, and her boss is upset with her taking unplanned time off. Mishaps keep occurring, from vandalism that puts her car in the shop, to ketchup sprayed on her white fence reading “Go Home,” and worse. Which of her new friends, Charlie, the female auto-mechanic, or Genevieve, the tea-shop owner should she trust? What about her old classmate, Ken, who is handling the Real Estate offers for the shop? Maybe she should just go home. It's a tough decision, but things are not always as they seem and little by little truths are revealed.

I love a new mystery series, and Suede to Rest is a great debut. Poly is a smart character, charming and kind hearted as well. She's not graceful, but her klutzy tendencies make her all the more human. The small town atmosphere, the down to earth characters, two adorable kittens and the image of a shop filled with exotic fabrics from around the world made this an “I can't put this down until I finish it” book. Toss in potential romance with a rich prince charming, and you'll find yourself lost in a delightful cozy mystery you are sure to enjoy.

Reviewed 2014