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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere

Pillow Stalk (Mad for Mod Mystery #1)Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC from in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Net Galley and to Henery Press for approving my request.

Madison Night owns the shop, Mad For Mod. She's a 47 year old interior decorator who has been in the business for over 20 years. When the story begins, Madison calls a Mr Johnson, executor of the estate for his mother. Madison wants to write a check to Mr Johnson for the entire estate he's managing because she's done her research, and she knows she will be able to incorporate most items from the estate into her business. Mr Johnson didn't believe Madison was serious, so he hung up on her, only to call back later agreeing to accept her offer.

Madison shares a birthday with the singer/actress, Doris Day, and she's a huge fan of the Doris Day movies. I'm familiar with Doris Day movies since I spent plenty of Saturday afternoons sitting in movie theaters watching her and Rock Hudson in my younger days. Doris Day gave me hours of entertainment, and she proved what a wonderful comedienne a woman can be when given the opportunity and first rate material. It was no surprise that Madison also has a Shih Tzu named Rocky after Rock Hudson.

Madison has a knee injury which prevents her from doing very strenuous exercise, so she took up swimming at a local club, Crestwood. She likes it there and enjoys the company of the senior citizens who also go there. Pamela Ritter, a newly licensed realtor, has also begun swimming at Crestwood even though she's much younger than the other women. Her exercise activity got cut very short when she was murdered in the Crestwood parking lot. At the time she was wearing Madison's cover-up robe and was under Madison's car.

Diane Vallere has done a wonderful job of combining diverse activities into one woman's life. Madison is not wrapped up in any romantic entanglements, although there is a man she feels close to but has never pursued a relationship with him beyond friendship. I liked that about Madison because while she is capable of loving someone, she's content with her business and her involvement with The Mummy, a local movie house that shows old films. Until the murders began, she was fulfilled by what she chose to do with her life and the people she included in it. Hudson James, the handyman Madison calls whenever she has a repair job on one of the pieces of furniture she's going to use for a customer's home make-over, is very good at what he does, but he's a loner and has a cat that makes Cujo look like Bambi. Madison has asked Hudson to become her partner in Mad For Mod, but so far he has declined the opportunity. Hudson has issues in his past that prevent him from becoming involved with anyone in a more than superficial way. Since Madison has a similar experience with a past relationship, she does not press Hdson further either for business or pleasure. This does not mean, however that both these adults don't have moments when they'd like to move on to the next level.
And then the murder of Pamela Ritter occurs shaking everyone up and adding strain to everyone's life.

The story moves forward with twists and turns that keep everyone guessing who is killing women who have had some connection to Doris Day. There are enough surprises in store for Madison to keep her involved with a certain police detective and his investigation into what becomes multiple murders, and this includes a copy of the movie Pillow Talk that shows a side to Doris Day no one would ever have expected.

I would recommend **Pillow Stalk** to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, appreciates women's fiction, with a teaser at the end that made me want to get my hands on the sequel ASAP! You just can't beat that in a reading experience.

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