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A Disguise to Die For
A Costume Shop Mystery #1
Diane Vallere

Berkley Prime Crime
February 2, 2016 / ISBN 978-0-425-27828-4
Mystery/Cozy/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds


I chose to review this book because I love a good detective story, and this one is just brimming with detectives. That is, party-goers dressed up in costume as famous detectives. You have your Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, Charlie Chan, Charlie's Angels, Veronica Mars, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Kojak, Miss Marple and more. They are gathered for the 26th birthday party of the seemingly obnoxious and definitely wealthy Blitz Manners. When Blitz is murdered at his own party, the police will have to sort through dozens of disguised attendees to find means, motive and opportunity.

Margo Tamblyn has returned home to Proper City, Nevada, after her father suffers a heart attack. She plans to help him run his costume shop, Disguise DeLimit, while he recovers. Her dad, Jerry, decides to take a spur of the moment trip with his friend Don to visit Area 51, and possibly buy some alien costumes. After all, this will get him away from the stress of the shop and out on the road to relax and recover. The large custom costume order they'd had for Blitz's birthday party had just been canceled, and the shop should be easy enough for Margo to handle alone. Yet the birthday order is soon back on, and since Ebony (the closest thing Margo ever had to a mother) is handling the rest of the party, Margo decides to tag along and see how the costumes go over, and provide a helping hand to her dear friend.

Ebony becomes a suspect when she is found standing over the very dead Blitz, holding a large knife. Margo knows Ebony is innocent and sets out to find out who the true culprit is. Will she be able to do so in time and without risking her own life?

Wow! I am so impressed with this first book in a new series! I could not put it down because I became so enthralled with the story line and the main characters, and I had to just keep turning page after page to find out what would happen next. What a brilliant concept- a detective book about a party full of guests dressed as detectives, and a costume shop full of disguises, which, frankly, bodes well for a bevy of future books. This is a true cozy in every sense of the word: small town, amateur sleuth, romance, humor, quirky characters, more than enough detail to draw the reader right into the story, and of course a lovable cat and an adorable dog.

Highly recommended for cozy mystery lovers who enjoy a trail of subtle clues and an abundance of enjoy ability. Also included are recipes and costume ideas. As for me, I'll be anxiously awaiting the next installment, "Masking for Trouble," coming soon from Berkley Prime Crime.

Reviewer Note: Diane Vallere also writes the Material Witness Mysteries

Reviewed 2016