During the week-long event, Rory plans on shopping the trade show floor, working in her mother’s booth, taking classes and connecting with other decorative painting fans. She doesn’t expect to witness her childhood friend collapse in class and die. When the police find no evidence of foul play, Rory embarks on her own investigation. Can she brush aside the lies to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice?
Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, craft and hobby mysteries.
I've never thought of anything connected to Los Angeles as small or quiet, but Sybil Johnson manages to bring a wonderful small town spirit to the Los Angeles County city of Vista Beach. And when cities are quiet, the residents tend to like their homes to stay that way. Enter the Akaw Hotel, which changes all that.
This disquiet has put some of the hotel's detractors on high alert. Or put a bee in their bonnets. Because some of them think that the new hotel will ruin the town's atmosphere. Then, of course, they feel the need to punctuate their feelings with rocks through the windows of the people they feel are responsible for the hotel opening in their fair city - one of them being Rory's front window. So, Paint the Town Dead starts with a bang, or is that a crash, of breaking glass.
A painting convention, or any gathering of whatever scale regarding painting or crafts in general, sounds really interesting to me, and since the Aurora Anderson mysteries (including the first installment - Fatal Brushstroke) have both, I really enjoyed reading this book. And while many of us have attended conventions, not so many perhaps have had a hand in organizing such an event. Ms. Johnson has and that adds a little extra authenticity to the story.
Rory and Liz's friendship continues in this second book in the series, and thank goodness for that. As my FIL (father-in-law) has a less-than-competent realtor, it is especially nice at this time to meet someone who knows her stuff.
I've never understood what makes someone feel justified in committing acts of vandalism (or terrorism for that matter) just because they are angry at someone else, and I am equally baffled at the breaking windows all over town. Surely as animals with brains of a certain healthy size we could find better ways at handling our disagreements and differences.
In any case, chalk up another mark in the win column for Sybil Johnson's Paint the Town Dead. It's got the punny title, the female investigator, the corresponding craft (in this case painting) and food (or drink) on the cover. There are many of the elements that make a cozy mystery cozy, and surprises to hold our interest. Looking forward to #3!
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my objective review. This post contains affiliate links.)