Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much: A Madison Night Mystery

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere is the fourth book in A Madison Night Mystery series.  Madison Night and her boyfriend, Hudson James are heading to Palm Springs for two weeks.  It is going to be part getaway and part work.  Hudson has agreed to help his brother-in-law, Jimmy work on his dream project.  Jimmy wishes to create a midcentury modern strip mall and Madison is the perfect decorator to assist him.  Their visit, though, is fraught from the very beginning.  Their car is sideswiped as they near Jimmy and Emma’s home.  The next day, Madison arrives at the job site and her hat falls into the Whitewater River.  As she bends over to retrieve it, she sees a body floating under the surface of the water.  Before the police arrive, the corpse disappears.  Madison goes on a sketching excursion and ends up getting attacked.  She arrives at the house to discover that Jimmy is upset with her.  He lost a day of work.  The next morning, Jimmy vents his frustration.  Madison and her dog, Rocky decamp to a local motel.  This is not the trip that Hudson had planned for them. Madison has been having a tough time since her last brush with danger in Texas.  She has been suffering from nightmares and is having to rely on sleeping pills.  It is recommended she consult a therapist and is given the name of Dr. Albert Hall.  Madison leaves him a message, but she soon discovers that he is no longer taking patients.  The missing river victim is found in a quarry by hikers. The victim is none other than Dr. Hall.  Madison starts delving into the case and finds it more complex than it first appeared.  She has all these various pieces of information.  Madison will need to shift them around and fit them together to get the complete picture.  Can Madison figure out the identity of the culprit before it is too late?

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much is part of a series and some parts of the story are a little confusing if you have not read the previous novels.  While the author provides details on why Madison loves vintage fashions, midcentury modern design and Doris Day, details what has caused her PTSD are lacking.  I did find The Decorator Who Knew Too Much to be easy to read (good pace/flow) and nicely written.  I liked the authors writing style and the humor she injected into the story.  I appreciate Madison’s love of vintage fashions (her clothes sound unique and beautiful).  I give The Decorator Who Knew Too Much 3 out of 5 stars.  The mystery comes across as complex, but I thought the identity of the perpetrators easy to uncover.  In the beginning of the book, it states that Madison and Hudson are going on vacation.  This is mentioned more than once, but then we are told that they will be working. How is this a vacation?  Is it because they are in a different city?  I was curious how Madison, a decorator, could assist on a project that has not been started.  I found some information to be repeated a few times throughout the book (Madison’s love of Doris Day, vintage fashions, and her dog, Rocky).  The book is written from Madison and Tex’s (Captain Tex Allen) point-of-views.  I was not a fan of this format.  Tex’s sections did not enhance or help the story (for the most part).  I prefer novels that are told from one person’s perspective or from the third person.  Personally, I believe Tex and Madison would make a great couple.  Hudson is not the best partner for Madison with her love of sleuthing.  At the end of the book, readers are left with some unanswered questions.  I wish the author had provided a better recap of the offender’s actions.  Fans of the Madison Night Mystery series (also known as A Mad for Mod Mystery series) will enjoy this latest installment.  I think I will go back and read the earlier novels in this series.

The first three books in A Madison Night Mystery series are Pillow Stalk, That Touch of Ink, and With Vics You Get Eggroll.  Thank you for visiting today.  I am off to run an errand.  I will be reviewing Appetite for Innocence by Lucinda Berry by tomorrow.  Have a great day, take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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