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Photo Finished (A Scrapbooking Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – January 6, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Cackleberry Club, Tea Shop, and Scrapbooking mysteries. In her past life she was a Clio Award–winning advertising writer and CEO of her own marketing firm. She lives in Plymouth, Minnesota.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Scrapbooking Mystery (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (January 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425194345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425194348
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries - set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She's also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn't rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries - a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans' spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries - set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe's undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After a year of marriage, her husband quits his job at the bank and moves to his family place in the Bayou. Although Shamus comes from old world money he wants to be free and get his photographs into a high class gallery. The bond that ties Carmela to her husband is still strong so that neither has filed for a divorce. Still Carmela has moved on with her life in a professional capacity, opening a store in the French Quarter. Memory Mine sells scrapbooks and gives lessons to customers who want to turn them into art.
Next door to Memory Mine is Menagerie Antiques owned by Bartholomew, a man who Carmela believes works on the wrong side of the law. One night while giving a craft lesson, Carmela?s assistant finds Bart dead in the alley, a scissors in his chest. Everyone from her assistant to her best friend expects Carmela to uncover the identity of the killer and she does her best to accommodate their expectations.
PHOTO FINISHED is an exciting amateur sleuth mystery starring a heroine that is impossible to not like. She moves at supersonic speed which means a fast plot, plenty of action and a lot at hair-raising adventure though why involvement in a homicide investigation seems stretched. Laura Childs takes the reader on a tour of New Orleans that seems so realistic that the audience will believe they are there. One should not read this novel on an empty stomach because the mouth watering descriptions of foods will make the reader visit the nearest five star restaurant.
Harriet Klausner
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Chelle on February 9, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Laura Childs' books drive me just a little bit crazy. Sure, they're great for a couple of hours of enjoyment, but...why do I keep coming back, reading each book the woman writes? There is certainly no mental stimulation to be had and after you've finished one you don't get that rush of pleasure and satisfaction that follows a fabulous book. But it just seems to come down to the fact that, even though the books are silly, you are still entertained on some level.
My complaint about all of Childs' novels, and *Photo Finished* is no exception, is that her characters are very light and lacking dimension. Their motivations and thought processes often seem suspect. And silly. Have I mentioned the silliness factor? And, another complaint, the mystery is really no mystery at all. Just a crime that gets resolved (and in this case not very efficiently) at the end. The reader is still left in the dark to an extent regarding what actually happened to prompt the crime. Now that I think about it, some aspects of the book are downright aggravating. Like Carmela's husband, Shamus, and everything that goes along with their relationship. (But to go into that would be just too much.)
I must say, though, that it is worth it to read this particular title in the Scrapbooking mystery series simply for one of the last scenes, which had me laughing out loud quite unexpectedly. A scene that will no doubt prompt me to read the next book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lois Lain VINE VOICE on October 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One problem I've noticed with prolific, successful writers is it seems like their editors take a break. No one is catching the little errors (and the big plot boo-boos) because they're not giving the same level of scrutiny they would to a greener writer's work. And that is the case in "Photo Finished."

I really enjoy Carmela and her friends. But hearing about her "tawny hair" multiple times in the first few pages was a little annoying. And the absolutely inane things she does in the name of chasing down the murderer are just too much (going to an abandoned warehouse at night? messing around the dead man's store, unaccompanied??). And why in the heck did Bobby, the police's number-one suspect, drop in on Carmela? He says nothing of real import, then drops out of sight once again. It was merely a way of furthering the plot that made absolutely no sense. The same with the way Shamus is urging Carmela to attend "family" functions when the entire Meechum clan -- including Shamus himself -- has made it clear that she's no longer "one of them."

One final thing -- the yo-yoing with Shamus is getting old. And he is such a cad (flirting with other women in front of her, giving her a hard time about keeping her company when she was afraid, etc.), that if Carmela actually gets together with him, I am DONE with this series. Or should I say, "photo finished" with it??
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen Potts on October 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Carmela Bertrand's husband Shamus decides to move out in order "find himself", Carmela goes on with her life and spends her time running a scrapbooking shop on the edge of the French Quarter. When she announces an all-night scrapbooking session at the store, the response is good and many of her regular customers plus some new ones show up. When her assistant Gabby goes out in the alley behind the store, she discovers the dead body of Barty Hayward, who owned a nearby antique store. The police department's suspect list at first includes the women who were at the scrapbooking party, but soon it narrows down to Billy Cobb, Barty's young assistant. Feeling that Billy is incapable of such an act, and spurred on by his grandmother to "do something", Carmela launches her own investigation. It soon appears that Barty was a shady businessman and a number of his associates join Carmela's suspect list. This series is set in the city of New Orleans, which serves as an interesting backdrop for the action. Childs comes up with some interesting characters, and even more interesting names, such as Jade Ella and Sweetmomma Pam. For those who enjoy scrapbooking, New Orleans, cozies, or all of the above, this book may be for you.
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