While reviewing my account recently, I saw that the Sony eReader Bookstore had finally fixed Laura Child’s Photo Finished (depite not having notified me). So, I immediately downloaded it and put it in my Unread file. Last week, I got to read it, and I really enjoyed it. Readers of my blog might remember that I did not particularly like the first in this series, despite my high expectations since I love scrapbooking and Laura Childs is a best selling author. So, when this book wasn’t available and I had received my refund, I really put it out of my mind, not expecting much. It has simply been a book I picked up for the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
I tell you all this as a preface to, wait for it, I LOVED Photo Finished. I was very glad I eventually returned to it. And, I am very glad I read it.
Photo Finished is the second in the Scrapbooking Mystery series. The author’s website describes the books as follows: What could be more fun than an all-night crop at Carmela’s scrapbooking shop? As ideas on rubber stamping, hand-tinting photos, and decorating album covers are shared, scrapbookers also help themselves to hurricane rum drinks, jambalaya, and homemade praline pie. Spirits run high and the soft New Orleans night buzzes with excitement. But when Bartholomew Hayward, the shady antique dealer from next door, is found sprawled in the back alley with a scissors jammed in his neck, it looks like the work of a very crafty killer.
This book did not do what I really didn’t like in the first, which is focus more on New Orleans and Mardi Gras rather than scrapbooking. It did still focus a lot on food, and it includes several recipes in the back, but since I like food mysteries, that didn’t put me off as much as did in book one. Instead, this book really focused on the scrapbookers and the murder mystery. It was a super quick read with many funny moments. I will actively read the next one!
I ordered Photo Finished by Laura Childs from the Sony eBookstore, and downloaded it, and opened it, and lo and behold it wasn’t Photo Finished. It was Tabor Evan’s Longarm???!!! I was very disappointed. I contacted Sony, and they told me they would open a work order for the “content division” who would notify me when the content have been corrected and I could download the correction. So, I am out the $5.99 for a book I don’t want and disappointed that I don’t have Photo Finished. I don’t want to get it someplace else and pay for it twice, but it has been a week, and I have heard nothing so far.
I think I am going to move to Madelyn Alt’s newest book for the Cozy Challenge while I wait for this to be corrected. I hope they hurry!
For my first book of the Cozy Mystery Challenge, I chose Keepsake Crimes (2003) by Laura Childs. I picked this book from the Cozy Mystery website which organizes mysteries by themes. I was very interested in a scrapbooking theme since scrapbooking is a hobby of mine.
This was the first book in a series of seven so far. It focuses on Carmela Bertrand whose estranged husband Shamus is evidently suspected of murder. Carmela owns her own scrapbooking store, Memory Mine, where we meet her merry band of friends, including an interesting BFF Ava.
The setting of the book is New Orleans during Mardi Gras. And, that for me, was the biggest problem of the book. I picked it up for its “scrapbook theme” and found that the details about New Orleans and Mardi Gras would have really qualified that (New Orleans / Mardi Gras) as the theme. I just wasn’t quite as interested in the parade and mask making details as I was the scrapbooking. And, while I love cooking themed cozies like those by Joanne Fluke, I didn’t expect the recipe details or the recipes included in the back of the book. It just seemed like way too much. I wanted one (scrapbooking) without the other.
The other real issue that I had with the book is that I didn’t find much mystery. Yes, Shamus is suspected of murder, but Carmela does not investigating / solving except for one scene when she follows a man to a hotel and finds out that he is having an affair with the deceased’s wife.
Having gotten the bad out of the way, I did find that I liked Carmela more toward the end of the book after seeing her worry about her dress / looks compared to a friend and tangle with her emotions about the maybe-to-be ex hubby. Those moments left her feeling younger and more easy to relate to.
I am going to try the next in the series Photo Finished before I give it up. I did read one scrapbooking technique about weaving that I had not seen before and would like to try. If it is as eloquent as Carmela claims, that will have made the read worth it alone.