Tuesday, January 23, 2018

With Vics You Get Eggroll by Diane Vallere


First Line: The flashing red and blue lights remained visible in my rearview mirror far longer than I would have liked.

Interior decorator Madison Night has her hands full. Although a demanding client keeps pulling her away from a product endorsement she's working on, it's almost impossible for Madison to get her mind off the Lakewood Abductor. Someone is abducting women in Night's neighborhood, and now the body of one of the missing women has turned up. Suspect #1? Madison's friend, Lieutenant Tex Allen. She knows someone is setting him up, and she's determined to do what she can to prove his innocence-- even though she risks putting herself right in the path of a killer.

Diane Vallere's Madison Night books continue to be my favorite cozy mystery series. Having read the fourth book first, I bought the first three and am happy to say that I'm all caught up and ready for book five, The Pajama Frame, which will be released at the end of February. These books have given me a new respect for Doris Day, the actress Madison Night models herself after. If that sounds too cute for words (along with the book covers), think again. Most people, if they are aware of Doris Day at all, think of the frothy romantic comedies she starred in with Rock Hudson, but there's much more to Doris than that. She was a trail blazer in her own right, and her movies run the full spectrum from musicals to Alfred Hitchcock. She portrayed an independent woman who didn't need anyone's protection, and if you think about it, she's the perfect role model for someone like Madison Night. (And I hope you've noticed that the book titles use Day's movies as inspiration.)

In With Vics You Get Eggroll, the spotlight is on Tex Allen, the other man in Madison's life. Yes, she's been dealing with one of fiction's favorite dilemmas for female characters: two men circling around her with bright eyes and hope in their hearts. We've already had a book focusing on Madison's contractor Hudson James, so now it's Tex's turn, and I have to admit that accusing someone of murder is a good way to find out what kind of person they are. Thus, in three books, Vallere solves Madison's man dilemma, and that's good news for readers like me who don't care for that particular plot device. (And no, the series doesn't weaken once Madison has made her choice.)

The mystery surrounding the Lakewood Abductor is very well-constructed and creates some lovely thrills and chills. My brain whispered to me whom the abductor had to be, but I ignored it, choosing instead to snuggle down and enjoy the book. One of the things I enjoy the most about this series is that this cast of characters is intelligent and caring-- and they don't do stupid things or run off half-cocked. Madison is forty-eight, has a bum knee, and knows she's not Wonder Woman. Throw in her adorable Shih Tzu named Rocky, and this series pretty much has it all-- including humor. In With Vics You Get Eggroll, there's a scene in which Tex vents his frustration out on an oak tree and gets taken to task by the elderly lady next-door. I loved it.

Strong mysteries, an excellent cast, chills, thrills and laughter, and an adorable dog... if you haven't read a Madison Night mystery, what are you waiting for?


With Vics You Get Eggroll by Diane Vallere
eISBN: 9781941962459 
Henery Press © 2014
eBook, 266 pages

Cozy Mystery, #3 Madison Night mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


8 comments:

  1. It's a challenge, I think, for a cosy writer to to write good characters, tell a serious story, and still develop the characters, etc. within the cosy framework, Cathy. I'm glad this series does it for you.

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    1. It certainly does "do it" for me, Margot!

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  2. I remember Diane herself is very colorful. I really want to read this series. I love Doris Day and loved pretty much all her movies. The frothy ones and the other ones. So, off to see about the first book. I thought I had it, but don't seem to.

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    1. Yes, Diane is a colorful woman; I remember that from Left Coast Crime. The very first appearance of Madison Night was in a collection of short stories. Vallere has her story available solo on Kindle right now for 99¢-- "Midnight Ink."

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  3. I have had Pillow Stalk in my TBR group for awhile. Decided that I will move it up and read it after what I am reading now. When I read your review the name Tex Allen reminded me of Rex Allen who was a cowboy movie star in the '50's. He might have lived in Arizona because a friend of mine in Gilbert Az would send me newspaper clips about him. Then the names Hudson James reminded me of Rock Hudson and James Garner who were co-stars with Doris. Then the dog is called Rocky. Maybe the Tex Allen is just a coincidence and my imagination is going strong.

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    1. If I remember correctly, Tex Allen is a compilation of Rock Hudson's characters' names in a couple of movies, and the dog is really named Rock Hudson and just goes by Rocky. You're spot on about Hudson James being Rock Hudson/James Garner.

      My mother met Garner at the Illinois State Fair when he was starring in "Maverick," and he shook her hand. She went as long as she possibly could before she washed that hand!

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  4. I am looking forward to The Pajama Frame! You put into words why I like this series so much, you are right, these characters don't go off half-cocked and are generally intelligent!

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    1. I am a firm believer that a book can be light and fun (although I'd say the Madison Night books have a bit more of an edge to them) and still have intelligent characters!

      I'm so glad you enjoy these books, too!

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