by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Masking for Trouble. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
It’s not surprising that for Disguise DeLimit costume store owner Margo Tamblyn, Halloween is the busiest time of the year. What is surprising is how the entire town of Proper City goes more than a little bonkers over their Halloween celebrations. The planned Nevada city, without a given identity, took on that of the Costume Capital of the World, making every event one suitable for a masquerade. The highlight of the season is a kickoff party and costume competition at the Alexandria Hotel, with the winning prize for the last twelve years going to one sold out of Disguise DeLimit. That record looks to be stopped in its tracks when Margo receives a letter from the new owner of the hotel, proclaiming that her store is banned from the competition.
Having only assumed control over her family’s store for the past six months, and with a hefty guilt complex, Margo has a lot to prove. That propels her into an angry confrontation with Paul Haverford of Haverford Venture Capital, who plans to commercialize, bring in gambling, and kick out small businesses like Disguise DeLimit. Her uncharacteristic act of defiance at the Halloween kickoff party may relieve Margo’s frustration, but it’s an act she will regret when she has the misfortune of discovering Haverford’s corpse. Now more than ever Margo needs the support of her boyfriend Tak Hoshiyama, but because of his father’s disapproval, the couple has been forced into keeping their relationship on the down low. Another roadblock is that Tak’s ex-girlfriend also happens to be investigating. Proper City Detective Nancy Nichols doesn’t need an additional reason for wanting Margo arrested. It looks as though it may be up to Margo to protect the hometown she has grown to love, continue the legacy of her family’s store, and somehow manage to figure out, if a relationship one can’t admit to, is one worth having at all.
Much of what makes this second of the Costume Shop Mystery series so enjoyable is the quirky and unique appreciation of costumes held by all in Proper City. Margo herself dresses in some form of costume every day, but Halloween allows her to go all out. The residents have a distinct attitude that has them wanting to stand apart from the crowd, none so much as Margo’s 70s-loving, African-American mother figure Ebony Welles. She may fear the superstitions of Halloween, but that doesn’t mean she can’t embrace a good Grace Jones or Tina Turner outfit. The mystery delves into the intricate manipulations of commercial zoning, but the real fun comes from the elaborate costumes Margo creates for her store. Helpful hints and even a few recipes will inspire readers to make the most of the Halloween season, although welcoming it as a holiday year-round sounds even better. This is an unpredictable mystery that serves to both entertain and spark creativity in readers, who may don a costume just for the joy of it.
To enter to win a signed copy of Masking for Trouble, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “masking,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 8, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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