The Brim Reaper by Diane Vallere is part of her Style & Error mystery series. This is the third book in the series, but the first one I read starring Samantha Kidd. There are some references to Samantha’s past and some mysteries solved by her, which might catch a first time reader off base.
Samantha Kidd is out of a job, and is roped in by bestie Eddie to help him with a museum exhibit. Something is definitely rotten in Eddie’s world. There are a big bunch of characters that might take getting used to. I think I must have been distracted while reading this book because it took me a while to keep track of the different people, their employers and what exactly their role was in the story. Samantha and Eddie have probably worked through many rainy days in their life. Nick is Samantha’s weary boyfriend who hopes she will keep her nose out of others’ business. There is a mega store that is sponsoring a fashion related exhibit, there are two hat store owners, one grouchy hat designer, an ex museum director Samantha idolizes, a new museum director who’s not really the warm and fuzzy type, another museum worker who is found dead, a sexy biker dude who follows Samantha around with whom she probably has some history, an ex Hollywood sensation who is the inspiration for the museum exhibit, and a police detective who is very weary of one Samantha Kidd!
Samantha goes to work for her boyfriend but keeps taking time off to investigate. She is fiercely protective of her friend Eddie who she thinks is being framed or set up. Why is Cat’s hat stolen? Is Samantha’s favorite star Hedy London completely above board, or is she also involved in this conspiracy. At the risk of breaking up with boyfriend Nick, Samantha continues to plod on and investigates some very confusing events.
The title of The Brim Reaper is obviously a play on words. There are many such ‘plays’ in the book especially related to hats. I think it might have been better if I had read the other books first. Samantha, being in the fashion industry, obviously has an eclectic taste in clothes. The author’s predilection for fashion comes through in the detailed descriptions of each of Samantha’s outfits. Actually, not just Samantha’s outfits but even those of the other people she meets or hangs out with.
Overall, The Brim Reaper has some good suspense, and will keep the reader guessing till the end. It kept me guessing about more things than the mystery itself. As far as mystery stories go, I have read better, and I have definitely read worse, much worse. Considering that, The Brim Reaper is worth a read and will delight fashion and mystery fans alike.