By: Kylie Logan
Publication Date: June 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: June 25, 2012
Everyone attending the “International Society of Antique and Vintage Button Collectors” convention was long past playing the game, Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button? That simple MOP, or mother of pearl button, once used in many a childhood game was of high interest at the convention. In fact, such a button could have been one of the fabled Geronimo buttons, something the mere thought of gave Josie Giancola heart palpitations. Geronimo had once sold the very buttons off his shirt and then had sewn another one on in preparation for the next sucker. As chair of the convention Josie had scored a coup when the reclusive Thad Wyant agreed to give the keynote address. Thad, an “expert extraordinaire on Western themed buttons,” would definitely liven up the festivities.
Chase Cadell, a rival Western button expert and collector, was livid at the mere thought of Thad on the podium. When the guest speaker actually showed up, Josie would soon regret the designation. Thad, who was allegedly bringing a Geronimo button to the convention, replete with provenance, also brought a little something else along with him...his boorish manners. The “button rockstar” was more like someone who was featured in a B-rated Spaghetti Western as he annoyed everyone in sight. To add to her troubles Josie’s pushy ex, Mitchell “Kaz” Kazlowski took it upon himself to “assist” her at the convention. The only thing Josie and Kaz agreed upon was that Thad was noisy and obnoxious.
After the dinner cruise the festivities livened up in a way even Josie couldn’t imagine when a woman began to scream at Thad. “I can’t believe you’d have the nerve to show up here you son of a...” Mr. Wyant was not winning any popularity contests and Josie’s convention was looking more like a cheap imitation of some tawdry reality show. Awls were being stolen from the the vendors, competition trays were disappearing, Gloria Winston was moaning about the measles she had on hers, and that cretin, Daryl Tucker, was trying to buttonhole Josie into dating him. At least one problem would be solved when pestiferous Thad was found lounging in the linen room deader than a mackerel on ice with one of those pilfered awls stuck in his neck. Stan, Josie’s assistant at her shop, the Button Box, quickly chimed in that “talk of murder always adds a little zing to any festivity.” Not. Could Josie solve the murder before things got even uglier and someone else’s lips got buttoned up for good?
Josie Giancola and her disastrous button convention will keep readers riveted to the pages. Try as she might, Josie simply could not get a grip on the convention and her supposed frolicking festivities were a flop. I loved the sophisticated air of the mystery, a sophistication that was blown out of the water with the entrance of Thad Wyant, an obnoxious boor. I did learn many interesting tidbits about buttons and the world of button collectors and enjoyed it as Josie teamed up with Detective Nevin Riley to solve this whodunit. The twists and turns and the who’s who of the mystery were as tightly woven as a Chinese puzzle, a puzzle that even the reader will have trouble unraveling. If you love a cozy mystery with a confident, capable sleuth, you’re going to love Josie!
Quill says: If you like your mysteries as sharp and sparkling as a mother of pearl button, you'll take a shine to this delightful cozy mystery!