By: Kate Carlisle
Publication Date: August 2012
Reviewd by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: August 2012
Brooklyn Wainwright was missing Derek Stone, her boyfriend, because he was on a special overseas assignment, but the week promised to be a good one. Grace Wheaton, big time gaming entrepreneur and “self-made billionaire,” was opening up her manse for a week of fun and games. Well, not all of the guests there would be habitués of the gaming world and there would be a few bookish types in residence, something Brooklyn would relish. The house was lavish in a preposterously bizarre way with pinball machines, secret corridors, and even a giant human mousetrap just waiting to capture the unsuspecting. Brooklyn brought her book repair supplies for the occasional boring moments, but, unbeknownst to her, they would be few and far between.
“Your aunt is crazier than a bagful of monkeys,” Vinnie spouted off to her partner, Suzie. Perhaps, but being a bit on the macadamia side was a whole lot better than some of the nasties that were placing their tootsies over the threshold. Sybil, Madge, and Grace’s despicably disgruntled lawyer, Stephen Fowler, made Brooklyn’s nemesis Minka LaBoeuf look good. That “haughty cow” was starting to look positively saintly in comparison. Rare books were turning up in the most unusual places, but when Grace started turning over tarot cards, the atmosphere became more subdued. “You gave me the Death card, you twit!” Was this simply a game or was it indicative of something more serious?
Mysterious villains galore could be found in the pages of Grace’s pulp fiction collection, but there were more of them in her mansion. Her gonna-tell-it-all fictionalized exposé was going to rattle more cages than that mousetrap. The Red Room séance gathered friend and foe together around a table. “The spirits are restless! They know we seek answers!” Brooklyn only wanted to know who that woman was who answered Derek’s phone and couldn’t care less about Grace’s spirits. Footsteps, a gasp, and a pretty darn good imitation of a choking sound filled the room. It wasn’t the spirit of Uncle Cuthbert, but rather Bella and when the lights came up her eyes had more glaze to them than honey dipped donuts. Brooklyn seemed to attract more bodies than books and this time there was a real live murderer in the room, but who was it?
This fun, sometimes hysterical cozy mystery, has more panache than Miss Congeniality. What surprised me the most was that the dignified and classy aura of the book never wavered. Scenes that could conceivably come straight out of the Soaps were somehow delightfully realistic. I half expected Dr. Marlena Evans to exit left after the séance, but instead, Brooklyn’s friend, Gabriel, unexpectedly showed up to help solve this whodunit. The cast of characters ranged from classy to quirky and the unexpected twist and turns kept me wondering what would happen next. If you like your cozy mysteries threaded together with a dollop of slapstick, Brooklyn Wainwright is at your beck and call!
Quill says: This amazingly fun and intricate mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat with its roller coaster-like twists 'n turns!