Review: The Brim Reaper by Dianne Vallere

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Diane Vallere uses fashion brilliantly to show character. She understands its place in culture and history. And she uses it to plant clues. I’m not a fashionista—more the opposite—but I loved getting immersed in Samantha Kidd’s personal and professional world of style. She’s a feisty, funny, independent protagonist, determined to help a friend. Vallere successfully sustains the plausibility of the amateur sleuth when Samantha’s good friend and former colleague Eddie becomes a possible suspect for a fashion-related murder at a museum where he’s in change of an exhibit featuring the hat collection of a famous neo-noire actress. The crimes to be solved include hat theft as well as murder and attempted murder.

The author strikes a good balance between humor and mystery, with a touch of romance. The characters and their relationships as well as the well-planted red herrings the kept me so involved, the pace never slowed down and I didn’t figure out whodunit until Samantha did.

This is the third book in the Style and Error series. Vallere handles backstory so smoothly a reader could begin here and feel neither lost nor bogged down in catch-up details, but I recommend going back to the beginning and getting to know Samantha from the start.

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