Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Series Book Review~~Leslie Caine

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on my vacation, which made me think about blogging some book reviews. Lately, I’ve been a big fan of “cozies”, mysteries that take place in comfortable settings solved by people who aren’t detectives. The English started them but the last few years, Americans have chimed in with some fun series of their own. I’m going to give reviews of some of my faves over the next few weeks. Check ‘em out!

When I was in my home decorating phase, I discovered the Domestic Bliss series featuring Erin Gilbert, an interior designer with a rival named Steve Sullivan. Gilbert shares the beautiful home of Audrey Munroe, a design diva with a local cable show called, you guessed it, Domestic Bliss. Each book includes decorating tips from Audrey.

A very human character, Erin grapples with self-doubt, repeating a strengthening mantra before each appointment and loses herself in enthusiasm for furniture, accessories and design. Sullivan, her talented rival in their small Colorado town, is a charming and handsome guy who provides not only business friction but sexual tension, as well.

I’ve enjoyed this series for several reasons. Naturally, the home decorating attracted me but I really like Erin. She tries to do the right thing and of course it always get her into trouble. I find myself protective of her, hoping she won’t get into too much trouble, especially with her friend, Linda, a cop on the local force. Her relationship with her cat, Hildi, also rings true to life. Any cat owner knows, when we want our cats’ attention, they’re as likely to ignore us as not. But sometimes, Hildi offers her little furry body as breathing, purring comfort.

The mysteries themselves involve some interesting characters. A few have been truly malevolent and some have been annoying as hell. I was almost relieved when one of Gilbert’s clients in a later story turned up dead since she was such a pain in the butt. Erin’s family back story, the subject of the first book, has created ongoing conflict and some poignant situations.

These are great, comfortable reads made for the beach or a rainy day. Erin and her cast of amiable characters, while not offering the most intense mysteries on the shelf, deliver good, solid stories that involve you in her world of beauty and murder.

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