Murder in White Lace, by Karen Sue Walker, is the first of a cozy mystery series entitled, “Bridal Shop Mysteries”. Max Walters creates gorgeous custom-made bridal gowns in a coastal California town. Her name is Max, not Maxine. Most of her customers are the typical excited and/or nervous brides. Some, however are bridezillas. Such is the case with Jennifer Burns, a rude, snobby, condescending, real estate agent who made her way by stepping on and over her co-workers.
When Jennifer came for a final fitting, collapsed in her wedding gown, and later died at the local hospital, it was assumed she had been poisoned. Max’s childhood friend, Andy, was arrested, and Max made it her mission to clear his name. Jennifer was not well liked, so there was no shortage of suspects.
Max had previously helped the local police solve a crime, and couldn’t resist working behind the scenes on this one. Detective Jason Cruz made it clear Max should mind her own business, but she simply couldn’t resist. There was some tension between Max and Jason that may have been chemistry.
Then there is the fact that Max is offered a position as a junior designer at a New York fashion house where she had once worked as a pattern maker. She is happy in her home town, and finally realizes she is already a designer in her own right. Will she move back to New York, or will she stay at home near close friends and family, and the beach she loves? Will she hang around to see if anything can come of her friendship with Jason? Who killed Jennifer?
This was light, easy reading, which I especially enjoyed after reading some pretty heavy stuff. The characters were believable and likable. The story contained a good mystery, as well as the author’s voice on several important issues, such as Max commiserating on historic cottages being replaced with McMansions. Also, Max thought to herself that she couldn’t guess how old a local man was because he had spent too much time in the sun; and she told her friend who offered pastries how much better she felt whenever she stayed away from sugar. As a public health educator, I appreciate it whenever an author plants tidbits such as these into the dialogue.
What Makes This Reviewer Grumpy?
Far, far too many sentences began with the conjunctions “and” and “but”.