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Stamped Out

A book by Terri Thayer

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Deadly arts & crafts

  • Jan 29, 2009
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Unable to continue her married life in San Francisco, April Buchert returns to her roots in Aldenville, Pennsylvania. She is done with her husband Ken who turned out to be a crook and decides that a change for scenery would do get good, even if it means dealing with her divorced parents, Bonnie and Ed, who love to meddle with her personal and professional life. Coming back home turns out to be more of a necessity as she is in desperate need to work again, earn money and to clear her head from her heartache. Instead of helping her dad, the owner of a construction company, with simple tasks she gets tangled up with restoring an original mural and eventually discovers a skull in a small Castle by her new job, which had to be demolished. Everyone looks at her father for answers since he was in charge of constructing it over fifteen years ago, expecting an explanation of the missing body and a skull with a hole in its side, clearly not an accident. With her father taken into police custody by an overly eager officer Yost, who seems to have a real hunger to bring her family down to its knees, April decides to try to solve the mystery of the skull and of a haunting night from her youth that might have something to do with it.

With the support of her childhood friend Deana, and the Stamping Sisters club - a small group of local women who have been friends and craft project fanatics, April takes on the task of sleuthing as once again she's getting familiar with the town she grew up in and which she left in a hurry after finishing school. Things have changed and so have people, someone who's pretending to be a friend has killed a man and left him in her father's construction. April must find out who did the crime, not only for her father's sake but for the safety of everyone involved, as more people associated with the incident seem to be dying in mysterious ways. The more she gets involved the more she realizes that people who seem innocent have more skeletons in their closet than the wilder characters.

I actually enjoyed the book even though it had some gripes. Overall it was cute and cozy, and the scenery was described beautifully, all the nature, the interiors and exteriors were colorful and full of life, in fact the only thing I had no clue about its appearance was April herself. The author left the imaginary process completely to the reader; I wish that could have been embellished on since everything else was well described. The arts and crafts aspect was cute but didn't really make the book any more solid, April didn't get to do much with her stamps or even with the mural, it seemed that the cozy factor was a way to lure readers to get the book and the project included was a bit silly, not really useful for anything. Worst of all the women in the stamping club were bit annoying and catty, I couldn't imagine being friends with many of them, and there was a lot of tension going on; the finances and the construction work being in danger since the murder put it to a halt were little nerve wracking. In these days I read to get away from daily grind, not to read about peoples money problems and their parents divorces. I felt like the murder took a second seat and I hate to say it but the mystery/death itself was not very interesting. It happened long time ago, the character wasn't even in the picture unless I got to read about people recollecting the past and believe it or not I guessed who the villain was, not really too hard if you pay attention in this book. So the mystery was lukewarm but the book was okay, I will read the next in the series because I am curious how the characters evolve. I enjoyed reading about April and her mom, it seemed that their relationship benefited greatly form all the changes. Not a bad book but nothing to rave about, it was a fast read but when it came to sleuthing it skated on thin ice or ridiculousness.

- Kasia S.

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Kasia S. ()
Ranked #224
   I’m a total book lover; it eclipses all other hobbies, mainly of the horror genre that embraces all the things that make one sleep with their back to the wall. Horror is a lush terrain … more
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Starred Review. Packed full of family drama and small-town charm, Thayer's enjoyable mystery series debut outshines most other crafting cozies. After her marriage crumbles and her interior decoration career deteriorates, April Buchert returns to her hometown of Aldenville, Pa., in search of a new beginning. She's helping her father, Ed, on an extensive restoration project when a skull tumbles from the rubble of an old building. Ed was in charge of the building's construction and demolition; a cop with a grudge now thinks he's a killer, and April must clear his name. The only bright spot in April's new life is the Stamping Sisters, a group of fellow craftswomen who support her when she feels like everything's coming apart. Twists and turns keep the story fresh and compulsively readable, and the characters feel like family by the time the last page is turned. Thayer and the Stamping Sisters are worth keeping an eye on.(Sept.)
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Books, Mystery Books, Cozy Mysteries, Humorous Mysteries


ISBN-10: 0425223299
ISBN-13: 978-0425223291
Author: Terri Thayer
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
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