I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.A Killer Closet on October 11, 2016
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In a fashionably cozy short mystery novel, Paula Paul introduces a tenacious heroine who leaves big-city life behind and returns to picturesque Santa Fe, New Mexico—where murder lands on her doorstep.
Irene Seligman loves the warmth and beauty of her Southwest hometown, but only one thing could make her quit her prestigious job as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan to return there: the guilt applied by her demanding mother, Adelle. After Adelle’s most recent husband dies, leaving her with nothing, Irene decides to take a break from prosecuting criminals to move back to Santa Fe and open an upscale consignment store. With Irene’s determination and her mother’s eye for haute couture, they’re sure to make a killing.
But on the day of the grand opening, Irene discovers the body of one of Adelle’s friends in her storeroom. And although the intrigue causes business to boom, when someone else from Adelle’s social circle is murdered, Irene begins to suspect her mother might be in danger too. Ever the protective daughter, Irene investigates her mother’s friends, suspicious that they’re hiding more than designer clothes in their closets. But as she gets closer to uncovering some real skeletons, Irene might not live to regret coming home again.
It was my third-grade teacher who saved me from becoming a plagiarist. Her name was Mrs. Sherrod. Certainly she had a first name, but in those days and in the culture of Texas, students never considered calling a teacher by his or her first name.
Mrs. Sherrod gave an assignment to the class to write a short story. Like most people who become writers, I was an avid reader, and I thought that writing a story would be easy. Feeling smug, I wrote the story hurriedly so I could get back to the book I was reading. I didn’t get a good grade on the assignment, and to make matters worse, I was called to the library table in the classroom for a “conference” with the teacher—a truly dreaded fate.
It seems that my story bore a strong resemblance to the story in one of the books I’d read. Mrs. Sherrod pointed that out to me, and I’ll never forget her words: “You can do better than that. Next time I want a story that comes from your own imagination.”
I was eight years old. I knew she was right. Worst of all, I was utterly humiliated to have been scolded by a teacher. Now, every time I sit down to write a new book, I remember Mrs. Sherrod’s words, and my primary goal is to be original.
Sometimes, however, being too original can get a writer in trouble. While my current editor at Random House encourages originality, I’ve had editors in the past who have told me they won’t buy my manuscript because it doesn’t fit the mold of stories that are currently being bought by book buyers. Other times, I’ve had reviewers write unfavorable reviews because the story doesn’t fit a traditional pattern.
I can’t deny that a rejection by an editor or an unfavorable review affects me in a negative way. It’s downright depressing. However, in the final analysis, it is always Mrs. Sherrod’s voice that I hear the loudest. This story should come from your own imagination.
Over the years, I’ve learned to add one other thing to what my teacher told me. That is that the story must also come from my own soul. Even a cozy mystery or a so-called beach read needs to have soul. There has to be something for the reader to think about.
Read A Killer Closet. It’s a light read. It has a touch of comedy. It’s meant to entertain. But it does have soul.
A Killer Closet by Paula Paul
This is a mystery book that had quite a few surprises in store. Irene moves home to Santa Fe to help her mother, Adelle. Adelle is used to being taken care of by one of her many husbands. After the death of her last husband, she realizes she needs her daughter. Irene leaves her job as a DA in Manhattan to open an upscale consignment shop. Things take a turn for the worst when not one, but two bodies turn up in her store after hours.
The beginning of the story caught my attention; it has a great first line. I continued reading the book because I wanted to know what was going to happen. Some of the story was a bit unbelievable. Some of the characters’ actions just didn’t seem plausible. But overall, the mystery was one that I wanted to finish. The author was able to tell a decent story in less than 200 pages. The mystery didn’t feel too heavy and there were even some humorous parts.
Note: There is some cursing in this book. I don’t expect that in a book marketed as a cozy mystery.
About the Author
Award-winning novelist Paula Paul was born on her grandparents’ cotton farm near Shallowater, Texas, and graduated from a country high school near Maple, Texas. She earned a BA in journalism and has worked as a reporter for newspapers in both Texas and New Mexico. She’s been the recipient of state and national awards for her work as a journalist as well as a novelist. She’s the author of many mysteries, including the Alexandra Gladstone series and the Mystery by Design series, which she wrote as Paula Carter. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Webpage – http://www.paulapaul.net/