The Diva Wraps It Up
Author: Krista Davis
Published June 2014
Available at all major book retailers.
It’s the Christmas season in Old Town, with a decorating contest, block party, and cookie swap to look forward to. Heroine Sophie Winston, newspaper columnist on all things domestic, is seeing to her duties as the Christmas party planner for Scroggins Realty when her friend Horace falls from a balcony and is rushed to the hospital. Soon after, her neighbor falls from his roof thanks to a conspicuously broken ladder, and the cookie swap leads to a violent end for the host. When the blame falls on Sophie’s friend Natasha, it’s up to Sophie to sort out who among her neighbors is the culprit.
This is the first novel I’ve read by Krista Davis, but the novel itself is one of many in her Domestic Diva Mysteries series. Despite coming to this series late in the game, I didn’t feel lost, left out of the story, or have trouble understanding the characters- so this book could easily be a stand alone novel. The characters are diverse and relatable. Davis is great at creating likable and absolutely hated characters with dialogue and action alone. She has a way of turning our perspective of those characters upside down by book’s end, too. In the second chapter, Horace’s wife Edith comes across as a complete she-demon, but by book’s end, she was a much different person after she began to let her neighbors into her heart and I learned of the scars life left on her soul. Sophie is the friend we’d all like to have- warm, compassionate, generous, and imperfect. She doesn’t have to have perfection in her looks and home as long as what she has makes her happy. She loves to cook and her friends and neighbors tend to congregate for gab fests in her home at all hours of the day and night. Remarkably, she remains friends with her ex-husband Mars, even though he hooked up with Natasha as soon as they divorced. There are no too good to be true people in this story, and I could picture myself at home among them easily.
The plot is well-woven and tight, and left me wondering if the victim accidentally did herself in before I got to the last few chapters. There are incidents that can be pinpointed to a specific person rather quickly, but the killer’s identity remained a surprise until Davis was ready to reveal it. Unfortunately, there was either no copy editor or proofreader, or they missed some glaring mistakes. The wrong character’s name (Gwen) is used to identify Patty in a scene in Sophie’s kitchen, leaving me wondering when Gwen had arrived and why she was there since she dislikes Patty. Dialogue between two people often reads like random non sequiturs instead of conversation, confusing me about what the topic was supposed to be. Despite these foibles, I still enjoyed the story overall, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.