Book Review: Buried in Bargains by Josie Belle
Mystery Helps With Tips on Bargain Shopping
With Christmas right around the corner, it's time to start saving with the Good Buy Girls (GBG's) as they kick off the holiday season with murder.
In the competitive world of being thrifty, Maggie Gerber wants to set her thrift store apart this holiday season as she tries to bring in customers to her thrift store, My Sister's Closet, by offering free gift wrapping. So, with the help of her fellow GBG's they meet up to buy wrapping paper when Maggie's arch rival, Summer Phillips (and owner of Second Time Around) shows up to put a dent in their plans.
Thus begins Buried in Bargains, the third installment in the Good Buy Girls Mysteries by Josie Belle.
Starting a mystery revolving around the purchase of wrapping paper may not be the best way to start off a mystery, but during these few opening pages we get a sense of just how close these women are when it comes to friendship and shopping. They'll do anything to help each other out.
It's evident when fellow GBG Joanne Claramotta tells Maggie that she thinks her husband, Michael is interested in Diane Jenkins, a new employee he's hired at their meat market. Maggie assures her that it's just her hormones since Joanne's six months pregnant and on the hormonal rollercoaster. She confesses she was the same way when she was pregnant with her daughter Laura.
Maggie's pleasantly surprised when the towns richest woman, Bianca Madison, comes into the store and tells Maggie that she's donating all of her (and her late mother's and grandmother's) evening gowns to the store. They're a mix of vintage, couture, designer and modern, but Maggie wants to sell them on consignment rather than an all out profit. Bianca won't hear of it and then announces that the annual Madison Christmas ball will also be taking place.
Once the invitations are out, My Sister's Closet becomes the place to shop as the women of St. Stanley swarm the place looking for the perfect gown to wear to the ball. After closing one night, Laura and Maggie head over to the Claramotta store and they meet Diane. She's very shy and since she's around the same age as Laura, the two eventually strike up a friendship.
As the days pass, the two talk Diane into going to the ball. They think this will be an excellent way for her to meet people and hope this will be a way for her to overcome her shyness. Reluctantly she agrees to go and on the night of the ball, Maggie overhears Diane and Michael having an argument. Maggie's not sure what to make of it, but later she forgets about the argument as she and the town's Sherriff, Sam Collins, decide that the two of them belong together.
Christmas will be bringing a lot of people into the Gerber house this year, and Maggie stops over at the meat market to update her order but finds it strange that no one is there. The store's dark inside and she doesn't see any activity. After calling Joanne and asking her a couple of questions, she comes to the store where they discover Diane's lifeless body and Michael barely clinging to life.
It does take quite awhile before the story is set up, but this isn't a very long book which only takes a couple of hours to read. Even though short, it does pack a punch and reads more as a drama than a mystery. Sure the mystery is clever as to why Diane has no known background and why she's in town, but again, the story basically explores friendship rather than murder.
I do have to admit that with the recent things in my life, I did find myself shedding a tear in the "emotional" spot of the book. Hey, even I cry every now and then and there was nothing wrong with it.
If you haven't checked out the previous installments, now's a good time to get acquainted with Maggie and the GBG's. You'll be glad you did.