When Poly Monroe was little, she loved playing in her family’s textile store. But after a fatal family tragedy, Land of A Thousand Fabrics was boarded up and Poly never expected to see the inside again. Now, as inheritor of the long-shuttered shop, she’s ready to restore the family business. However her two new kittens, Pins and Needles, aren’t the ones causing a snag in her plans…
Not everyone wants Poly back in San Ladrón, especially a powerful local developer pressuring her to sell—and leave town fast. But even when the threats turn deadly, she’s not ready to bolt. Because Poly is beginning to suspect that the murder behind the shop is tied to a mystery in her family’s unsettled past that she’s determined to solve…before her own life is left hanging by a thread.
Thank goodness Poly Monroe has a sense of humor. She was born, some years ago, in her grandparents' fabric store, which she has just inherited. She was born on a bolt of fabric, and so was given the name "Polyester". Apparently, her family has a sense of humor as well! ;)
There are a lot of tangled relations in this book and Ms. Vallere does a good job of weaving the threads of her story with the right design and at the right time to keep the reader engaged. And I'm just a wee jealous that Poly can tell the difference in fabrics according to their feel.
Ms. Vallere's writing is fluid and there are enough plot twists and turns to keep even the most avid cozy mystery fan hopping. Most of the street's businesses are owned by a local developer, all except Poly's store. While she is inside for the first time in 20 years, someone vandalizes her car. And things go downhill from there. Someone plasters a 'go away' type message on her metal gate ... in ketchup. The only person who claimed to see someone leave the store the night of Poly's grandmother's murder is found dead in back of the store within 48 hours of Poly's arrival.
I love Poly's love interest in this one. Not the local LEO (law enforcement officer), but the son of the developer trying to pressure her into selling the store. So, it's a love-hate-mistrust relationship from the start. Of course, it doesn't help that they meet while she is stuck in the office door and he informs her that she is trespassing on 'private property'.
I will go so far as to call this an innovation in cozy mysteries. Make no mistake, I have enjoyed every cozy I have read so far, and Suede to Rest added a new refreshing twist that made me sit up and 'take notice'.
After close to two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. SUEDE TO REST, the first in her new Material Witness Mystery Series, comes out November 4. In addition, she writes the Style & Error Mystery Series, featuring former fashion buyer Samantha Kidd, and the Mad for Mod Mystery Series, featuring Doris Day-loving interior decorator Madison Night. Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.
1. So, tell us about this detective agency you started?
It was shortly after I started reading the Trixie Belden series. A friend and I thought we should start our own agency. Her last name started with an I and mine with a V, so we called ourselves "The Ivy Leaf Detective Agency." We wrote letters to each other, including license plates that we'd seen around town (practicing our skill at recognizing the cars the other mentioned), and signed all of our letters with a drawing of an ivy leaf by our names so we'd know they had not been forged.
2. What was your favorite place in the world to visit?
Paris! Though, it was not all fun and games. My work schedule started early and ran late, so there was not much time to play. The hotel was about half a mile from the Eiffel tower, and one cold morning (I think it was 18 degrees!) I bundled up in just about everything I'd packed and walked to it. It was around 6 a.m. and nobody else was out on the streets. I walked up to it, looked at it and then turned around and went back to the hotel room.
3. Do you know already how many books there will be in the 'Material Witness Series"?
Right now there are three books scheduled for the series. I would love for there to be more!
4. Can you describe Poly Monroe's favorite pair of shoes?
Poly wears a lot of black, and she's 5'9, so she naturally towers over people. Her favorite pair of shoes are black leather riding boots. Comfortable, fashionable, practical.
5. Do you have a favorite designer, and if so, who?
This is a tough question because I've always been a fan of mixing designer with bargain pieces. I do love Pucci prints from the sixties and the whimsy of Kate Spade. If money were no object, I could probably live exclusively in Chanel!
6. Does your family have any pets?
I am between pets at the moment. When my cat of fifteen years passed away, I had a particularly hard time. She had been with me through a lot.
7. What would you call your dream ranch?
My dream ranch would have a flat roof, large, open living room, plenty of giant windows and natural light, and a modest pool in the back yard. It would not have to be big, but would have a nice area for entertaining. Perhaps a fireplace for cold nights. And hardwood floors throughout. I've always wanted hardwood floors and I've never lived anywhere that has them!
8. What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
Not getting distracted by the internet!
9. What is one (or more) of your goals as a writer?
I want to entertain people, and I want to continue to grow and never feel like I'm phoning something in.
10. What advice do you have for young writers?
This process takes time and resiliency and creativity and passion. You might not need all four at the same time. You might find you have no time when your creativity is at its peak. You will need your resiliency when rejection comes. But always protect your passion for writing, because when you reach the point where you write because you love to write, you'll find a sense of calm that helps you deal with everything else.
(Disclosure: I received a print copy of Suede to Rest from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.)
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