Publication Order of Scrapbooking Mysteries Books
|Keepsake Crimes||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Photo Finished||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Bound for Murder||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Motif for Murder||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Frill Kill||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Death Swatch||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Tragic Magic||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Fiber & Brimstone||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Skeleton Letters||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Postcards from the Dead||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Gilt Trip||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Gossamer Ghost||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Scrapbooking Mysteries is a mystery adventure book series by the New York Bestselling author: Laura Childs. Laura Childs is actually a penname for Gerry Schmitt a Minnesota based author and a former advertising executive. Schmitt describes the Scrapbook Mysteries as “Thrillzies”, a mix of crime thrillers and what she calls “cozies”. In all her books, the murders happen off-stage and then the amateur sleuth happens on the scene, gradually comes across clues and spins an enthralling as well as captivating mystery adventure.
At the moment there are 13 Scrapbooking Mysteries which are either in print or available to order. The book series showcase the character Carmela Bertrand as the main protagonists. Carmela owns and runs a scrapbooking shop called Memory Mine in the French Quarter of the city of New Orleans. It is while working in the shop or being part of the vibrant social life in the district that Carmela comes across murders or subtle clues which eventually lead to her solving intriguing cases.
Carmella Bertrand a thirty-something woman and Schmitt describes her as having bobbed blonde hair with little streaks. She has a keen eye for details and is very easy to connect with people. Her sharp observational skills and analytical ability are essential elements in solving all the cases in the series. She is able to work out patterns where the average mind would only see a jumble of unrelated events and actions.
Laura Childs is a masterful creator, she carefully develops intriguing characters whom readers can identify with and admire in equal measure. Other than Carmela Bertrand, Childs has created other enduring female sleuths who have left her readers impressed and eager for the next mystery book. Theodosia Browning who owns the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina is as well known as Carmela. There is also Suzanne, Petra and Toni who are a triple team of amateur detectives who run the Cackleberry Club cafe in a small Midwestern town.
Like the rest of Child’s retinue of female sleuths, Carmela walks the solid earth. This is very much unlike other detectives who walk the clouds and display almost superhuman detective abilities at every turn. She has plenty in common with the average reader. She has a daily job with all the disappointments and triumphs that litter every career path. And, of course, Carmela is struggling with issues in her love life. There are many readers who despair with Camela’s patience with and dogged pursuit of Shamus, her rich ex-husband. Childs weaves an intriguing yarn that gives impressive insights of Carmela’s stupefying detective ability and her equally human fallibilities. The story of her social life is just as intriguing as the mysteries she helps uncover. Of course, at the very end of each mystery there is the feel-good feeling of good triumphing over evil. This does not happen easily as there are a few scary moments and close encounters before all is finally uncovered.
In the first Scrapbooking Mystery, Keepsake Crimes, which was published in 2003, we meet Carmela just after she has suffered the heartbreaking experience of her husband Shamus leaving her, ostensibly to pursue photography and “find himself”. It is the Mardi Gras season in the French Quarter and the streets are heaving with merry makers. Everywhere the eyes can see are people in costumes imbibing liquor in geaux cups and singing. As Carmela watches the parades, she notices one of the floats stop and a body is dropped right on the streets. To her horror, she immediately identifies the body as that of an acquaintance. As the case develops, Shamus becomes a suspect and some people shun Carmela assuming that she is still associated with her ex-husband. If that was not complicated enough, Shamus soon asks Carmela to help him extricate himself from the accusations. Against all the odds though, Carmela finds a subtle clue to the murder in one of her customers’ scrapbooks and using her keen, deductive mind, she gradually uncovers the mystery.
Photo Finished, the second book in the Scrapbooking Mystery series was published in January 2004. The opening scene has Carmela hosting a late night “Crop till you Drop” session at the Memory Mine. With her are all the members of her clique steeped in the usual fare of trimming, coloring, decorating and (of course) the latest gossip in the French Quarter. This benign atmosphere is however rudely interrupted when a neighboring antique-shop owner winds up dead behind a lane. The police are convinced that Carmela and her customers are involved in the murder and the prodigious amateur detective must unravel the case before the real murderer strikes again.
It took almost a whole year before Laura Childs published her next Scrapbooking Mystery and when it finally came out in late fall of 2004, the reception proved that the wait was well worth it. In Bound for Murder, we encounter Carmela preparing custom place settings for her friend’s pre-wedding party at a French Quarter restaurant when she discovers a chilling scene: the body of the would-be groom with a knife sticking out of his back. Of course, when the heartbroken bride pleads with Carmela to look into it, the star detective cannot refuse her. She soon discovers that there was more to the groom than met the eye and she has to evade a retinue of malicious meddlers before she discovers the truth behind the murder.
When Motif for Murder came out in June 2006, it was one of the most eagerly awaited murder mysteries of the year and true to form, it shot straight to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Set in the horrifying wake of Hurricane Katrina, Carmella is busy doing her best to get Memory Mine back into operation on one hand and on the other making her best effort to put the dysfunctional relationship with her ex-husband back on track. She is therefore understandably shaken when Shamus is kidnapped right from their home. Her shock will turn into utter petrifaction when she rushes to inform Shamus’s Uncle Henry only to find the old man murdered in his library. To deal with her loss, Carmella puts together a scrapbook of keepsakes and mementos. Unbeknownst to her, this book has a clue to solving both the kidnapping and murder. The friend who perpetrated the crimes is however well aware of the clue and will stop at nothing to escape justice. Will Carmela get wise before it is too late?Book Series In Order » Characters » Scrapbooking Mysteries