Paper, Scissors, Death: Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Every scrapbook tells a story. Memories of friends, family...and murder?
Mousy housewife Kiki Lowenstein has two great loves: scrapbooking and her young daughter, Anya. But her happy family album is ruined when her husband, George, is found naked and dead in a hotel room.
As Kiki tracks down George's murderer, she discovers his sordid secret life. Cruel taunts by George's former flame compel Kiki to spout an unwise threat. When the woman is murdered, Kiki's scissor-sharp words make her the prime suspect. She could be creating scrapbook keepsakes for the rest of her life - behind bars.
Supported by her loyal friends along with a little help (and a lot of stomach flutters) from the dashing Detective Detweiler, can Kiki cut the true killer out of the picture and design a new life for herself and Anya?
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 1 minute|
|Author||Joanna Campbell Slan|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||December 21, 2018|
|Publisher||Spot On Publishing|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #158,566 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2,767 in Cozy Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
#21,566 in Cozy Mysteries (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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Then her husband, George, is found dead in a hotel room, apparently of a heart attack. And yet, the circumstances are strange. He'd just had a full medical exam that found him completely healthy, including no signs of heart trouble. The housekeeper who found him seems to have left the area. He was seen earlier in the day in a high-end restaurant, with two young women.
It gets worse. George has apparently "borrowed" a half million dollars from the real estate development company he was a partner in. His life insurance goes not to Kiki, but to his mother, Sheila, who loves Anya, but intensely dislikes Kiki. Kiki has to sell their house just to pay back the money George owed to the firm, and be able to move to much more modest, even slightly edgy, neighborhood. (Somewhere during this process she impulsively adopts a rescue Great Dane puppy, whom she names Gracie.) And there's still the question of how George really died, and who the two young women were.
Kiki finally takes that job teaching scrapbooking, and starts learning more about her husband and his activities from the women who were once her neighbors and are now her scrapbooking students and clients. She's also doing some supplementary dog-sitting, for extra income from her former housekeeper's other business. The housekeeper/dogsitter, Mert, has become a good friend, and she's smart and clever, and helps Kiki find more information, too.
It is, of course, sadly predictable that Gracie, being a big dog and a rescue, is perfect, and the little dogs Kiki sits for Mert are, at best, comic relief. The two chihuahuas are described as "useless," and are clearly untrained. The Pomeranian, is treated like a doll by her owner, and by Anya, with an extensive wardrobe of "cute" clothes that a Pomeranian in a Missouri summer has no need of. (Yes, dogs sometimes need clothes, and a little dog like a Pom, even with all that hair, likely needs clothes in a Missouri winter. That's not what's happening here; it's all about using the little dogs and their never-seen owners as comic relief.) (Why, yes, I do have a small dog! She's an eleven-pound Powderpuff Chinese Crested, sitting with me as I type. She's also my service dog, and better behaved than either most of the kids we encounter, or many of the big dogs we meet.)
I do like Kiki, and a number of the other characters, including Mert and Dodie, are likable and interesting. My crankiness about the little dogs being used as comic relief aside, though, there are other problems. Kiki is at one point verbally told by her new landlord that he's evicting her. She never gets a written notice. Is Missouri one of those states where tenants have zero rights? Also, Kiki never gets around to telling anyone until all the other excitement is over. Even given her acknowledged passivity that she struggles against, that's just bizarre. If tenants have no rights, or if Kiki just isn't going to fight it, she has to have a new place to move by the end of the month. She's overly passive at first, but waiting and risking having no place to go when her stuff gets put out on the street, is beyond passive, and not consistent with how Kiki behaves otherwise.
On the plus side, though, Kiki no only gradually gets smarter about what questions she's asking about what's really going on; she also gains confidence in herself through the success of her scrapbooking classes and commissions. This is the first book in the series, and I'm sure the Kiki of subsequent books is stronger and more confident, because that groundwork has been laid.
So I have mixed feelings about this book. I like the characters, and the story overall is good, but there are some irritating aspects. However, all the dogs who appear in the book are alive at the end, so that's a plus!
I bought this book.
The death of Kiki's spouse causes her and her daughter's lives to be turned upside down. She is forced to sell everything she owns, including her home, furnishings, and vehicles, and must find a new place to live and a job to support herself and her small daughter. She has not the slightest belief that he suffered a heart attack. She employs her scrapbooking skills to aid in the search for the real murderer.
Overall great murder mystery!!!
I shouldn't say mystery as far as the story goes, I should say 'mysteries' because it not only has the main mystery but in search of solving that, the main character, Kiki ends up with several mysteries but never lost sight of wanting to solve who killed her husband and why. (Since the author has this information in her book details, I don't consider it a spoiler.) Some of these mysteries are the kind when you read about them you think you already know who done it and where the story is going. Forget it! The most logical is not always the answer. There are many twists and turns that I didn't see coming.
Speaking of the main character, Kiki is a very well developed as a person. She has a life, memories, and hopes and dreams for the future. She has a daughter and someone she is 'attracted to'. Then of course she has a mother-in-law that basically blames her for her son's death and doesn't get along with her. There are also the friends she has, some very good ones as well as not so good. In other words, her 'life' in this book is very full and real as is she (as well as all the characters). Not everything happens to her is good nor bad. She is living a life full of family problems, real problems, and of course her mystery and all that goes with that.
Keeping with this author's style, there are instructions, suggestions, and information on scrapbooking scattered throughout the story. Not random stuff either! If one of the chapters is about Kiki making a scrapbook, at the end there might be suggestion on what basic supplies you need to make a scrapbook. It all relates to that chapter in some way but it is not at the end of every chapter so don't think you have to read a bunch of stuff you will never use or already know. It is only a select few chapters and clearly marked so you can skip over it if you already know or are not planning to ever make a scrapbook. It in no way interferes with the story nor is there so much of it that a quarter of the book is this information. It is not! As I said, it is just a few times throughout the story and I just think of it as a bonus. Also, I know I said this is the author's first full length book I read but the key words are 'full length" here as I did read the short stories which is how I got hooked. The problem is I read them in a row so now I don't remember if any are in this book or if they were only in the short stories but if someone is cooking something in the chapter, you might find a recipe at the end instead. (Another favorite hobby of mine!)
Speaking of ends....that was some cliffhanger!
The story of these characters, friends and the weirdness of the murders is Extremely Clever and believable, dry and amusing Wit !
Top reviews from other countries
I was with poor Kiki from the start, don’t give up girl there’s something fishy going on here. It was a joy to read the ups and downs of Kiki’s life, I could have certainly sent in the boys to deal with Sheila!
However, I was one of the regular attendees at Kiki’s crop, in actual fact I lived in the back room so that I didn’t miss one. How I wish the shop was nearby. I adore scrapbooking and I am certainly looking for Joanna’s book on ideas.
The climb to the crescendo with Chad was just superb.
I am now going online to Amazon to buy the rest, I can’t believe that I have not come across Joanna before - I am so behind!
Love, Love, Love this book and I cannot recommend it enough.
The book was about scrapbooking, not really anything else.
Definitely downloading the next one.