For the Cozy Mystery Challenge (sponsored by Kris Meyer), I read Stamped Out by Terri Thayer. I found the books under the hobbies cozy theme on the ubercool Cozy Mystery Blog. I am an avid scrapbooker, so I thought the theme of stamping might interest me. I bought and downloaded the book from the Sony eReader Library.
BOOK DESCRIPTION (from back cover): MURDER MAKES AN IMPRESSION.
Back in Aldenville, Pennsylvania, with a failed marriage and a sabotaged career in her wake, April Buchert is ready for a fresh start. Working alongside her father on the restoration of the town’s famous Winchester mansion seems like the perfect project—until their efforts reveal a murderous motif…
If only *these* walls could talk…
A restoration expert who creates rubber-stamp patterns on walls, April is thrilled to help revive her hometown’s architectural gem. But during the demolition of an abandoned guesthouse behind the mansion, a human skull tumbles out of the rumble. All eyes are on April’s father, who originally oversaw the building’s construction years ago. As unexplained deaths pile up and a dangerously handsome carpenter becomes a pleasant distraction, can April chip away at the truth before another innocent victim is stamped out?
This is the first is a series that began in 2008 called the Stamping Sisters Mysteries. The second, Inked Up (2009), is on my list to read next, and I honestly don’t know if a third is coming out this year.
Most of this book revolved around April’s family rather than her stamping, but there was enough stamping to keep me interested in the theme, and it was a murder mystery which was very interesting in its own right.
Now, honestly, the family dynamics were so over the top that I couldn’t relate, so I didn’t always care about April’s angst over her family and what happened to them when she was a teenager. Her dad’s nickname for her, Apy, was kinda weird (who would want to be compared to a gorilla?). The relationship with her mother was healed a bit too quickly. And the Rock Star dating her mother . . . well, again rock star; what do I say?
There was no exploration of April status at the country club as the cook’s daughter. There was no tension with the different social classes. It was all a bit too easy.
I wasn’t sure why she was even married (though certainly headed for divorce) if a love interest was introduced almost right off the bat. She could have just been a divorced woman who returned to her birthplace. I am not sure we needed a husband since he never made an appearance. I guess, though, we have the possibility of him appearing in future installments.
I also knew whodunit long before the main character, which I hate.
So, I know it sounds like I didn’t like it, but it was okay. There was so much with her family to keep me from getting bored, and I wasn’t sure I knew who the bad guy was until the end (though I was right). It was also different. The character was a mess (which I like–I hate protagonists with too much self confidence). And the relationships were crazy. I also assumed that all of the stuff with her family and establishing relationships with the stamping sisters was background we would need for the next installments, like in X-Men movie, there isn’t as much action in the first of the trilogy because we need more story line to understand. Then, as the trilogy progresses, we get more action. So, I am hoping that is what is going on, but I don’t know yet. Will keep you posted!