Saturday, October 15, 2016

Review (+ Tour Giveaway): Masking for Trouble

Masking for Trouble
By Diane Vallere
A Costume Shop Mystery #2
Berkley, 2016


Halloween brings more tricks than treats for costume shop owner Margo Tamblyn in the second in a new cozy series from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness Mysteries.

Halloween conjures up big business for Margo Tamblyn’s costume shop, Disguise DeLimit, but this year, the holiday comes knocking with serious trouble. Venture capitalist Paul Haverford plans to rezone historic downtown into a glitzy commercial area which would push out local business. Margo is set on saving her family’s store, especially after a nasty run-in with the chain-store tycoon, but after Haverford’s body is discovered during a spooky party at the derelict Alexandria Hotel, Margo finds herself dressed as the police’s prime suspect.

Anxious to clear her name, Margo begins hunting down anyone who might have wanted Haverford dead. Between all of his malicious maneuverings, the murdered mogul had buckets of people anxious to see him gone. Now, Margo will have to use every trick in the book to find a cloaked killer—before someone else winds up wearing a death shroud…

My thoughts

Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere is a great cozy mystery and I enjoyed it very much. Characters are likeable and interesting, making me want to come back to them. Family, friendships and community play a big part. The writing flows easily and the mystery storyline is well plotted. Although the story is centered around Halloween, I was delighted that there were no supernatural or witchcraft elements; the focus is totally on costumes and parties.

Masking for Trouble is set in the fictional city of Proper City, Nevada, about 40 miles from Las Vegas – and I loved how the creative history of this small town made it feel so real. Future development plans for Proper City and small-town politics provide interesting conflict.

To truly enjoy a book, I have to like the main characters, and that was certainly the case with Margo and Tak. Margo is actually quite complex. She owns a costume shop, Disguise DeLimit, in a town that loves costumes – and she has some great friends. Growing up in her dad’s shop had given her a love for costumes, and elements of costumes became her everyday attire. I also loved the close relationship she has with her father.

Tak, half Japanese, is an appealing character with moral values and I enjoyed the developing romance between them. Their effort to date in secret was funny and Tak’s thoughts were right on … “Sometimes I can’t tell if we’re dating or if we’re practicing to be government spies.”

Masking for Trouble contains no graphic scenes or profanity, and I applaud Diane Vallere for showing that it is possible to write an entertaining story without these elements. Would that more authors would follow her example!

Recommended to all who enjoy cozy mysteries.

I received this book free of charge from Great Escapes Tours.


I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries, and the Material Witness Mysteries.

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR , which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE , the second in the series, will be out in October 2016, just in time for Halloween.

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET. The third, SILK STALKINGS, was just released.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY; BUYER, BEWARE; THE BRIM REAPER; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE. (A short story, “Just Kidding,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK, and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL. A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE.

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