Monday, October 12, 2015

Scrapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Bryan - #review #giveaway

Halloween means spooky scrapbooks for the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop, but what's been happening around town is truly frightening. First a dead woman is found in the freezer at Pamela's Pie Palace, and the next day a second woman is found murdered by the river. Reporter Annie Chamovitz learns the victims were sisters and is certain their deaths are linked. Most bizarre of all, both women were found clutching scrapbook pages.
As their Saturday night crop quickly becomes an opportunity to puzzle out the murders, the ladies begin to wonder if Pamela is hiding more than her secret recipes for delicious pies--or if the crimes are related to the startling discovery that there are gangs in Cumberland Creek. As All Hallows Eve approaches, the crafty croppers must cut and paste the clues to unmask a deadly killer.



I got a smile on my face when I saw the words "Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop" because I grew up in a small town in western Maryland by the name of Cumberland.  That, and I love scrapbooking, the various papers, ribbons and other supplies that go with it.  And I give a couple of extra points because I'd never read a cozy mystery where the craft was scrapbooks and papercrafts in particular.

Ms. Bryan does not shy away from potentially controversial subjects either, which also earns points with me because I live in a small town and I know how that can go.  There is a openly gay man character, who seems to have recently reconciled with is father (whom I can only assume was probably having difficulty dealing with his son's sexual preference in an earlier installment?)  There's a character (Cookie) who just shows up at all hours and in all situations and everyone seem to take her eccentricities in stride.  (She was struck by lightning some time before and has little short-term memory.)  Turns out she was Wiccan (?) and they have some kind of ceremony in one of the character's basements before a crop that is Wiccan in nature.

I had a spot of trouble at the beginning wondering if Annie is going to be thrown in with the town policeman as a love interest.  Only later do we find out that Annie is happily married with children.  But I still get the feeling that there is some unspoken unfinished business between the two.  I'll have to wait and see, I suppose. :O)

But small towns are insular as well.  By that I mean that many of the long-term residents have no idea that there is a whole Spanish-speaking community in their midst.  And if that weren't enough, there is a weekly crop amongst that community as well.  Annie makes her way there on a couple of occasions and generally has a pretty good time.

Let's see, there's also 'big business', possible illegal aliens, and an 'international employment agency' whose practices border on human trafficking in case you need any more to get your blood going.

Scrapbook of the Dead has many of the elements I enjoy about cozy mysteries - which is my favorite genre.  There's not a lot of swearing, little to no overly-descriptive displays of affection etc.  And it adds a rarely-seen element as well:  social consciousness.   Sometimes I like to read books where the story is good and carries you along without having to scratch your head too often.  Sometimes I like books where you get all that and get to think about choices and situations in your own life.  Ms. Bryan's book is in the latter category, and I cannot WAIT to read more of her work!



In addition to the Cumberland Creek mystery series, Mollie Cox Bryan wrote the regional bestseller Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies and Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley . An award-winning journalist and poet, she currently blogs, cooks, and scrapbooks in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Scrapbook of Secrets was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Click on the banner to go to the tour schedule, where you will find more reviews, as well as interviews and guest posts!  You can also get information on how to apply to become a tour host for Great Escapes while you are there!

(Disclosure:  I received an ecopy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)


  1. Thank you so much for such a kind and thoughtful review!

    1. Aww, you're welcome, Mollie! :O) I can't wait for the next crop!