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Paper, Scissors, Death: A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery Paperback – September 8, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Scrapbooker Kiki Lowenstein leads a comfortable, if unexciting, life in St. Louis with her husband, George, and 11-year-old daughter, Anya. George’s sudden death brings that comfortable life to an end. Kiki suspects murder, and equally devastating, she suddenly has no money. Managing to cope, Kiki soon has a job teaching scrapbooking skills, a new small rental home, and a new big dog. Then George’s college girlfriend also turns up dead, and Kiki finds herself a murder suspect. Slan has written a neatly plotted mystery with engaging characters. She has previously written a number of nonfiction books about scrapbooking and stories for the Chicken Soup series. This is her first published attempt at writing fiction, and the dialogue is a bit stilted, and most of the humor seems forced. However, as Kiki matures in the story, Slan’s writing style also becomes much more fluid and natural. Scrapbookers will love the whole idea of forensic scrapbooking and will relish the tips on the craft sprinkled throughout the story. Books combining crafts and mysteries are becoming increasingly popular. Like the scrapbooking series by Laura Childs, this should quickly become a favorite. --Judy Coon

About the Author

Joanna Campbell Slan (Washington, D.C.) is an international authority in the scrapbooking community. She is the author of over ten books on the subject, and her work has appeared in all of the industry's top magazines. In 2004, Slan founded a contest for scrapbookers in the U.K called "The Best of British Scrapbooking," which still runs today. Additionally, Joanna is one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul authors, and in 2007, she co-founded Sisters in Crime's Forensic University of St. Louis.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Midnight Ink; 1 edition (September 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738712507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738712505
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

National bestselling and award-winning author Joanna Campbell Slan welcomes your emails! You can contact her at with your comments and questions.

Joanna writes books that feature spunky female characters. Her work has been praised by Library Journal as "topically relevant and chock-full of side stories." Publisher's Weekly calls her cozies, "a cut above the usual craft-themed cozy."

RT Book Review describes one of Joanna's typical heroines as "our best friend, our next-door neighbor and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous."

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Sarahlynn Lester on September 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm no scrapbooker. In fact, I'm not very crafty at all, so I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy a "Scrap and Craft" mystery.

I needn't have worried. Kiki the professional victim drove me a little crazy at first, as I'm more of a (less hairy) Dodie, myself. But I loved the way Kiki's friends Dodie and Mert quickly signed her up for "Tough Tamales University, School of Hard Knocks" and toughened her right up.

What I'm saying is that I was hooked from the first line to the last. I finished the book this morning, and have spent the rest of the day still thinking about Kiki's life and imagining what will happen next. The characters were real to me, the sense of place was perfect, and the mystery was solid, deftly handled.

One of my favorite things about this book was the setting. I love a good book set in St. Louis, and this one was more so than most. It wasn't just the names of the streets and malls: I know those Ladue moms, and I loved how Kiki held her flashlight like she was Albert Pujols at bat when she was going after the intruder in her house.

But it's not just local flavor. Slan is a great writer with a real knack for description. When she's depressed, Kiki sees a November sky like mixed concrete. The whole book is full of great little observations like that. And while most of the book is very fast-paced and funny, occasionally Slan slows things down with some fabulous descriptive prose.

I assumed that a scrapbooking mystery would *have* to be a cozy, but I'm not sure if this one is or not. It's definitely a traditional mystery, but there's more heft to this novel than most cozies, weighing in at 327-trade-paperback-sized pages, though it's still a very quick read.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Nancy on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
First, the lead character, Kiki Lowenstein, came across to me as being too dumb for words. Her husband had a heart attack, or was is murder, under rather questionable circumstances and his business partner swooped in a little too quickly demanding repayment of missing funds,. What woman who has an 11 year old to support would just up and sell everything she owns to pay back a supposed half a million dollar debt. No proof, no paperwork, no anything. Dumb.

Second, if you are being investigated for murdering said husband, why would the lead investigator come to your home and make dinner or was it breakfast, for you? Any episode of Law and Order would show you that this would never happen, and it doesn't matter how cute your great dane is.

I am really beginning to question this whole cozy mystery genre. Many of the books are just getting ridiculous, the same plots are used over and over with only the location / business / craft / and pet de jour changing.

When I first started reading cozies I loved them. The writers were unique but now it appears that anyone can jump on this bandwagon and publish a book. Sort of like Harlequin does cozies, but without the bodice ripping.

The plot is simple. Kiki Lowenstein, a scrapbooking extraordinaire, is accused of murdering her husband, her mother in law thinks that she is now an unfit parent, her husbands ex-business partner is demanding repayment of missing funds. Her husbands girlfriend is making a nuisance of herself, and wants Kiki to make her a scrapbook. Sells her million dollar home in record time and her fancy cars, keeps daughter in private school at all costs, can't have your friends talking about you. Live in substandard conditions, own a dog that is too cute for words, and when that isn't enough, in walks a police detective who will either charge you with your husbands murder or make you a meal.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By landmarkengr on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
As soon as I started reading Paper Scissors Death, I knew it would be an enjoyable read. It really kept me coming back and the end has quite a twist that I didn't see coming at all. The last sentence in the book will keep you coming back for more. Joanna did a great job with this book. The references to scrapbooking were right on. She hit the ball out of the park with this one. I can't wait for the sequel!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Melissa A. Palmer VINE VOICE on August 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is the first installment in a cozy mystery series. Kiki's husband is murdered and she is deemed a suspect so she begins her own investigation. With her husband's death, Kiki's life is changed--she loses money, she loses friends and she faces losing the custody of her 11 year old daughter, Anya. But with her job at the scrapbook store, good friends, a lovely Great Dane and a blossoming romance with a police detective, she might be able to make it. This was a good mystery with good twists and turns and great characters. I really enjoyed this book and will continue with the series (there are three books, to date). I borrowed this book from my public library.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Kiki Lowenstein is in her favorite scrapbooking store Time in a Bottle when St. Louis Police Detective Chad Detweiler informs her that her husband George was found dead completely naked in an upscale hotel room. The medical examiner says he died of a heart attack, but Kiki doubts that as George had a physical six months ago with a clean bill of health. She considers investigating but instead has to deal with George's angry partner who insists he took $500,000 out of the business.

In order to pay it back and take care of her eleven-year-old daughter Anya and their dog, Kiki sells all their major assets from their upscale home to their car; they move into a rental in a lower class neighborhood. When George's mistress is murdered, Detweiler suspects Kiki as the killer especially in light of the fact that she threatened to kill Roxanne at a public social event in which the drunken mistress acted as if she was George's wife. George's mother wants custody of Anyta and someone breaks into Kiki's home stealing her computer while trying to get CD pictures of the now infamous social event. A malicious woman arranges it so that Kiki is thrown into jail for murdering Roxanne leaving Anya with her mother-in-law. Kiki loses custody of Anya and the mother-in-law from hell gets temporary custody so Kiki has to prove she was framed with only Detweiler and her close friends believing she is innocent.

This is an electrifying combination of a family drama within a whodunit. Kiki proves she has deep inner strength that even she did not know she possessed as she goes about what she must do to provide food and shelter for her daughter following the riches to rags scenario and subsequently to regain custody.
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