Photo Finished: A Scrapbooking Mystery
Author: Laura Childs
ISBN: 0-425-19434-5
Published: January 2004
Available at all major book retailers.

This is the second installment in Childs’ Scrapbooking Mystery Series, a follow up to Keepsake Crimes. We catch up to Memory Mine owner and amateur sleuth Carmela Bertrand as she hosts “Crop Till You Drop,” a late-night scrapbooking party at her store in New Orleans. Besides the chowder, conversation, and cropping, Carmela has a run-in with neighboring store owner and all-around grump Bartholomew Hayward. Shortly thereafter, Carmela’s assistant finds his corpse in the alley behind the shop.

Barty’s death quickly becomes the talk of the town and his secrets begin to surface one by one. From shady business dealings to nasty divorce proceedings, a series of suspects start to pile up, and it soon falls to Carmela to find the killer before he or she strikes again.

Childs’ does a great job fleshing out characters, both main and supporting. Their features and characteristics are woven into the story without taking you out of the moment, and each character plays an important role in moving the story along. The plot is realistic, and the characters’ motivations are believable. There are plenty of red herrings, and the culprit manages to remain a surprise until the end. The story flowed well, and there were no real hang-ups with grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

This book is an engaging, fun, and full of scrapbooking and craft ideas to boot. This novel provides hours of entertainment and is highly-recommended. Check out the review for Tragic Magic, another Laura Childs’ Scrapbooking Mystery here.