Picture Perfect Frame by Lynn Cahoon has Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More, enjoying a paint-and-sip event at South Cove’s newest business Drunken Art Studio with Greg and some of her friends. They are enjoying the wine, food, and each other’s company until a woman from out of town who overindulged begins making a scene. Jill learns that she is no Picasso as evidenced by the blobs on her canvas. During the night, Greg receives a call that has him heading into town. When Jill arrives at work, she discovers that a woman was found dead inside the Drunken Art Studio. It is the same woman who caused a scene the night before. The victim’s husband is quick to point the finger at Esmerelda whom the couple have visited regularly. Esmerelda is a part-time police dispatcher as well as a physic. Greg and Lisa know that Esmerelda is innocent, but they must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt because someone is going to a lot of trouble to make her look guilty.
Picture Perfect Frame by Lynn Cahoon is the 12th A Tourist Trap Mystery. While Picture Perfect Frame can be read as a standalone, I do not recommend this as your first foray into A Tourist Trap Mysteries (Guidebook to Murder is a good place to start). It can be confusing in the beginning with the large cast of characters (trying to learn who each one is and their various relationships). Picture Perfect Frame contains Lynn Cahoon’s easy breezy writing style. Returning to South Cove, California is like visiting old friends. There is a diverse cast of characters from Jill to Esmerelda. The characters are developed and continue to evolve. There is a new business in South Cove run by Meredith Cole and her husband, Neal called Drunken Art Studio. They host paint-and-sip events. Jill, Greg, Amy, Justin, and others attend including Jill’s new barista, Evie Marshall. The evening is disturbed by an out-of-towner who enjoyed the sip part of the event a little too much. Early the next morning, the drunken painter is found dead inside the studio by Meredith. The victim’s husband is quick to point the finger at Esmerelda who has been acting odd recently. Jill and Greg know that Esmerelda is innocent, but it will be tricky to prove it. I thought the mystery was straightforward with a couple of suspects along with subtle clues. Jill did some sleuthing, but she did not do as much as in previous tales. I wish Jill had a more active role from beginning to end. She is busy at Coffee, Books, and More which is bustling with business plus helping Amy with her upcoming nuptials. Amy has turned into a bridezilla that does not have a stop button. Jill must calm Amy down and talk her off the ledge several times. Personally, I found the wedding planning overshadowing the mystery and the wedding details became tiresome after a while (Jill is a much more patient woman than I am). We also get to know the newest member of the Jill’s staff, Evie Marshall. She is new to town with her dog, Homer. Evie has ties to a former member of the staff. There is also the normal eating, drinking, chatting, and runs along the beach with Emma. The ending of Picture Perfect Frame leaves us with an unfortunate, but highly anticipated cliffhanger. While I found it sweet, I also found it frustrating. Picture Perfect Frame is a quick and easy book to read. I like how the series has progressed since the beginning. I look forward to the next A Tourist Trap Mystery. Picture Perfect Frame is a charming cozy mystery with wedding woes, a jammed-up medium, a freaked-out friend, a honeymoon hurdle, a drained detective, a blobby beach scene, a bonanza of books, and a cliffhanger at the conclusion.
Picture Perfect Frame is available from Amazon*. You can find the other A Tourist Trap Mysteries here. Check out Lynn Cahoon's other cozy mysteries here. Lynn has Two Wicked Desserts publishing July 27. It is the second A Kitchen Witch Mystery. This is a delightful paranormal cozy mystery series. Thank you for popping by today and reading my review. Next time I am sharing my thoughts on A Sister's War by Molly Green. It is the 3rd novel in The Victory Sisters series. I hope that each of you have a merry day. Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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