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Mumbo Gumbo Murder
New Orleans Scrapbooking #16
BY Laura Childs & Terrie Farley Morgan

Berkley Prime Crime
October 1, 2019/ ISBN 978-0-451-48957-9
Mystery / Cozy

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Publisher Summary

A shocking murder strikes a sour note during Jazz Fest in the latest New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It's Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre are parading through the French Quarter. Some are very spooky and veiled, others are tall and gangly, like strange aliens.

As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street and past the food booths. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling's antiques shop. They rush inside to find Devon collapsed with blood streaming down the side of his face. Has he been shot? Stabbed? 911 is hastily called, and the police and EMTs show up. After the police examine Devon's body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. They're shocked beyond belief--and now Mimi, Devon's little pug, is left homeless.

Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but the list of suspects is long. How long do they have before they find themselves on the killer's list?

I have been a fan of Laura Childs for several years. She is a clever mystery writer and it is rare for a book she has written to disappoint me. The last book I reviewed in this series is Crepe Factor back in 2016. I had found it predictable and that the characters personalities had changed too much. It was with trepidation that I accepted Mumbo Gumbo Murder for review.

This book has all of the elements of a good cozy mystery, and it is always nice to visit New Orleans and Carmela, Ava, et al. I enjoyed the book, but I can’t say that I felt as engaged as I did in earlier books. I had hoped that Carmela and Ava would have changed back to the type of strong women they were previously, and that applies to other characters as well.

Because there are now two authors for these books, it is not surprising there is a different style and feel to them. In fact, the name of the series was changed to “New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery.” I’ve concluded that the best way for me to read and enjoy this series is to think of it as something new and different, and not expect things to be as they were in earlier books. Life is full of change, authors, and books change, and as a reader it is up to me to adapt. Get your copy and enjoy!

Reviews of other titles in this series :

Bound for Murder #3  [review]
Motif for Murder #4  [review]
Death Swatch, #6 [ review]
Skeleton Letters, # 9 [review]
Postcards from the Dead, #10 [review]
Gossamer Ghost #12 [review]
Parchment and Old Lace #13 [review]
Crepe Factor #14 [review]
Mumbo Gumbo

Reviewer Notes: This series is now called “New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery.” The change began with the previous book Glitter Bomb. Laura Child also writes The Tea Shop Mysteries and The Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Terrie Farley Moran has also written the Read Em and Eat Mysteries.

Reviewed 2019