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Shot Through Velvet: A Crime of Fashion Mystery [Mass Market Paperback]

Ellen Byerrum
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1, 2011 Crime of Fashion Mystery (Book 7)
Fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian is touring a failing velvet factory in Virginia on its final day of operations-and finds one of the factory owners dead, lashed to a spool of velvet and soaked in blue dye. The workers are delighted, since they blamed the "Blue Devil" for killing their jobs.

But when another nickname, the "Velvet Avenger", makes the rounds, and ribbons of blue velvet start popping up, it could be more than Lacey's job at stake-it could be her life...

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Shot Through Velvet: A Crime of Fashion Mystery + Death on Heels: A Crime of Fashion Mystery + Armed and Glamorous: A Crime of Fashion Mystery
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Blue velvet takes on a shocking shade of death in Byerrum's first-rate seventh Crime of Fashion mystery starring Washington, D.C., fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian (after 2008's Armed and Glamorous). Lacey's boyfriend, Vic Donovan, a security expert (and former Sagebrush, Colo., police chief), accompanies Lacey to interview Rod Gibbs (aka Blue Devil), the hated company spokesperson and part owner of Dominion Velvet, a newly closed velvet factory in Black Martin, Va. When Rod turns up dead and stained midnight blue in a dye vat after having been hit on the head and shot, no one, neither employees nor Rod's estranged wife, mourns his demise. Complications ensue after Lacey learns that Claudia Darnell, her publisher, is a Dominion Velvet silent partner, along with politician Tazewell Flanders. A serious look at the decline of the U.S. textile and newspaper industries provides much food for thought. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Ellen Byerrum is a journalist in Washington, D.C., and a produced and published playwright. She holds a Virginia private investigator’s registration. A Colorado native, she lives in Virginia with her husband. Visit her Web site at

Product Details

  • Series: Crime of Fashion Mystery (Book 7)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045123250X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451232502
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #830,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ellen Byerrum writes the popular Crime of Fashion mysteries set in bustling Washington, D.C., The City That Fashion Forgot. These action-and-fashion-packed books feature style scribe Lacey Smithsonian, who wears vintage clothing and solves crimes with fashion clues. While she's always looking for a little respect and a better beat, Lacey examines and comments on style snafus in her Crimes of Fashion columns and Fashion BITES, which are included in the books.

The latest addition to Ellen's Crime of Fashion mysteries is LETHAL BLACK DRESS(September 2014), which takes a peek at one of the more exclusive parties in Washington, D.C.

When does a little black dress become a lethal black dress?
When it becomes unexpectedly weaponized at the most security-conscious event in Washington, D.C.--the fabled White House Correspondents' Dinner. Fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian is delighted to finally take her place at the legendary D.C. insider bash, but she senses something is amiss with shoddy TV reporter Courtney Wallace's vintage Madame X gown with its stunning emerald lining. When the woman dies the next day, Lacey is on the hunt with her ExtraFashionary Perception to discover what that Lethal Black Dress is really made of . .

In addition to the Lacey Smithsonian series, Ellen has branched out with THE CHILDREN DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING, a middle grade novella with a completely original cast of characters is now available only on Kindle (November 2012). The novella introduces the Bresette twins, precocious twelve-year-old Evangeline and her twin brother, Raphael, who are enjoying just another summer vacation of swimming, squabbling, and coping with their lawyer parents--until a woman dies at their grandparent's country club. Convinced that someone stole a pair of diamond earrings from the body, Evangeline begins an investigation into the theft. But her search for justice proves far more dangerous than she ever expected.
And by the way, this story was inspired by a day in Ellen's youth, when she saw a dead woman at her grandparent's country club. You can read more about that back story in this e-book.

VEILED REVENGE (February 2013) Lacey Smithsonian always believed clothes could be magical, but she never thought they could be cursed. Until now. What do a haunted Russian shawl and a fainting psychic's cryptic warning have to do with a dead party crasher at her friend Stella's fabulously pink bachelorette bash? When a villain vows that nobody at these nuptials will live happily ever after, a walk down the aisle becomes a race against time. Cars crash, bullets fly, and ancient curses come to life as maid-of-honor Lacey scrambles for vital fashion clues. Can her EFP (Extra-Fashionary Perception) prevent the promise of more bloodshed at this cherry blossom wedding?

DEATH ON HEELS (February 2012) brings Lacey back to Sagebrush, Colorado, the scruffy hard-luck boom town where she earned her reporter's spurs. When an old boyfriend is accused of murder, she grabs her cowboy boots and heads West to prove he's innocent in the death of three women, all left barefoot on lonely country roads. The trip also tests whether Lacey has resolved her past romantic feelings.

SHOT THROUGH VELVET(February 2011) takes Lacey to a velvet factory in southern Virginia on its last day of operation where she finds a blue corpse in a vat of dye.

Ellen's series started with KILLER HAIR (2003), followed by DESIGNER KNOCKOFF (2004), HOSTILE MAKEOVER (2005), RAIDERS OF THE LOST CORSET (2006), GRAVE APPAREL (2007), AND ARMED AND GLAMOROUS (2008).

Two of Ellen's books, KILLER HAIR and HOSTILE MAKEOVER, were filmed as Crime of Fashion TV movies and aired on the Lifetime Movie Network in June and July 2009. They are available for download on Amazon.

While researching vintage fashions for her mysteries books, Ellen has collected her own assortment of dresses and suits from the 1940s, but laments her lack of closet space. Ellen has worked in Washington as a reporter, and she holds a private investigator's registration in Virginia. She also writes plays under the pen name "Eliot Byerrum." A CHRISTMAS CACTUS and GUMSHOE RENDEZVOUS are published by and available from Samuel French Inc.

You can find more about Ellen and her books on her website at Her blog is located at You can also follow Ellen on Facebook at and on Twitter at!/EllenByerrum. Thanks for visiting.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Jay
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just love these Lacey Smithsonian books, and SHOT THROUGH VELVET is a new favorite--well, maybe not as favorite as RAIDERS OF THE LOST CORSET, but it's surely my second-favorite in Ellen Byerrum's CRIMES OF FASHION series.

VELVET starts right in the middle of the action: Lacey discovers a dying-by-dyeing when she arrives in Black Martin, Virginia, to interview the owner of Dominion Velvet, America's last velvet factory, Rod Gibbs (a.k.a. the corpse, a.k.a., the Blue Devil), whom she finds lashed to a spool of velvet in a vat of midnight blue dye.

There are two particularly wonderful surprises in SHOT THROUGH VELVET, but if I tell you about those, they won't be a surprise now, will they?

We get to hang out with the gang once more, Lacey's boyfriend, security analyst Vic Donovan, fellow Pink Collar Coders Stella and Brooke, Brooke's boyfriend Damon (of the website), Lacey's boss Mac, Eye owner Claudia Darnell, Broadway Lamont of the DC Detective squad, plus Stella's fiance Nigel and his mother Gwendolyn, and Vic's parents Sean and Nadine. Also as always, we spend time with Lacey's co-workers, Disaster King Harlan Wiedemeyer and Queen of Calories, Felicity Pickles.

But there's something that makes this book different from the previous volumes in the series. SHOT THROUGH VELVET is shot through with the very serious consequences of the very true-to-life situation America's workers have been going through these past thirty years. The velvet factory isn't just a location for a mystery; it's a metaphor for all the American factories that have closed, and all the factory workers whose jobs have moved to Beijing and Bangalore, and aren't coming back (with thanks to Bruce Springsteen). And that's enough to make us all blue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Blue is not a good look for you March 16, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Maybe a spoiler:

I've read this book twice now and I liked it overall. Ellen Byerrum is really good at describing the death look of the "blue devil". I could just picture how he looked and it wasn't pretty. No one should dye blue. I thought the townspeople were humorous. I honestly thought they were all suspects at some point. No one liked this man whatsoever. At one point I thought they must have plotted against him to knock him off.

I felt that this book fit perfectly into the series. I like that we are seeing more of Vic {I have a crush on him hahaha} and the other characters that have shown throughout the series. I really enjoy seeing how all the characters grow through each book. I am interested in Nigel and Stella's wedding. I am still iffy about Nigel and his intentions, but we'll see how that plays out. We didn't see much of Damon in this book ... slightly disappointed. Even though I'm not his biggest fan, but I'm used to seeing some conspiracy unfold before my eyes. I'm curious how Vic and Lacey end up. It's hinting at marriage {ever so slightly}, but Lacey has prior experience of running when the guy gets too serious.

Anyways, please read the book! It's enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shot thru Velvet September 3, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very cute book thrilling love this author the book always makes you want to read on, will order more of her books as the come out
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dog Lover April 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved all of the books in this series and can't wait for the next one. The only thing I didn't like were the fashion news articles that would appear throughout the book, usually taking up several pages. Because I was so into the mystery and these had absolutely nothing to contribute to the mystery, I skipped over them. I get that she was a fashion reporter but didn't need to actually read her "articles" unless they contributed to the mystery plot. They would have been better placed at the end of the book rather than detracting from the story within the mystery plot. This was a good read though. In all of the books in this series, I could picture everything as though I were there and living through the main character. All of the books in this series were page turners, and I couldn't put them down even to eat a meal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smithsonian is Hilarious and Clever January 4, 2013
By Linda
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Yes, I've read all of these books and yes they are simplistic and some might say silly but I like them. There's just enough mystery to whet your curiosity and enough family and romance to make you want to find out more about the characters. It helps to start at the beginning of the series so you know what has transpired but if you don't care about playing a bit of catch up, just start with this book. You'll love the easy read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars complex journalist investigative tale February 5, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lacey Smithsonian writes her column Crimes and Fashion for the Washington DC based Eye Street Observer. The columnist is a murder magnet (see Grave Apparel, and Armed and Glamorous) so sometimes she writes about a homicide investigation. However murder is the last thing on Lacey's mind when she attends the Dominion Velvet Plant's closure due to the imports arriving from China and India.

Everyone is horrified to see a corpse tied to a roll of blue velvet in a vat of dye. The section worker recognizes the victim as part owner Rid Gibbs. Listening to chatter, Lacey learns Gibbs made enemies in his personal life including his wife and at the firm when he cheated people and fired them without cause. To complicate the case, Lacey's boss is a part owner too. A strip of blue velvet is sent to her boss and at Gibb's funeral there is a strip in his hand. Lacey visits board member Walt only to find him dead and holding that same blue velvet strip in his hand. The killer targets the publisher while Lacey, knowing the danger she places herself in, targets ending the killer's reign of terror.

Ellen Byerrum writes a clever, complex and obviously colorful journalist investigative tale that will have readings singing Bobby Vinton's tune Blue Velvet every time the protagonist trips over a murdered body. With a humorous romantic subplot to enhance the whodunit and filled with action, but character driven by Lacey, fans will enjoy her latest murder investigation.

Harriet Klausner
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This entire series is a funny and entertaining for mystery lovers and...
This entire series is a funny and entertaining for mystery lovers and fashionistas alike. The book arrived in excellent condition and promptly. I highly recommend this book.
Published 1 month ago by Bijou Robles
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read
What I liked about the book: I am never disappointed when I read books from this series. I sometimes which I was Lacy Smithsonian. Read more
Published on March 19, 2012 by Beverly L. Archer
5.0 out of 5 stars book ordered from amazon: shot through velvet
this book is a good read. Personally my favorite recreation is reading a good mystery, but that is a matter of choice and taste. Read more
Published on March 14, 2012 by dee bee
5.0 out of 5 stars I always enjoy Lacey and the gang.
This is another in a series of cozy mysteries by Ellen Byerrum.

Lacey is a Fashion report that somehow always ends up investigating murder. Read more
Published on December 29, 2011 by Happy Mom of 2
4.0 out of 5 stars Luscious Blue Velvet
Lacey does it again. This is was a quick read. I love the continuing development of the supporting cast. Read more
Published on October 30, 2011 by Kimberouch
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good Crime of Fashion!
Elaine Byerrum's Crimes of Fashion series has been one of the more consistently readable mystery series, and the last two or three have been particularly strong. Read more
Published on July 11, 2011 by Matt Conner
4.0 out of 5 stars Blue Devil
Sometimes, what you really want is to read something fun and light, but still well-written. Entertaining. At least I do, anyway. Read more
Published on April 1, 2011 by Barbara Sharpe
This is the 7th book in the Crime of Fashion Mystery series. Lacey Smithsonian is taking a tour of a velvet factory in a faltering economy in Virginia. Read more
Published on March 14, 2011 by ITZME
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick. What's your favorite color?
Quick. What's your favorite color? If you answered blue, I have a must-read for you, especially if you're into vintage fashion, snappy dialogue and the softest, most sensuous... Read more
Published on March 3, 2011 by John O. Raab
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