Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Teacher's Threat by Diane Vallere


First Line:"I'm sorry, Madison. You're just not good on paper."
When Madison steps out from yet another rejection at yet another bank, she looks across the street and sees a college, so she immediately goes over and signs up for the classes she needs to get an MBA. That MBA on her resume and applications should make a difference, right? 

Most of her classes are a yawn; she's already learned everything from running her Mad for Mod decorating business. There's only one that really holds her interest, and Madison is right on the scene when the professor of that class dies. Rumors are thick on campus, but both the police and Madison are sure the professor was murdered. Is the Why? going to help them find the Who?


Tastes can change as a person ages. When I was young, the Doris Day movies when she starred with Rock Hudson or James Garner were okay and good for a laugh or two, and I certainly remember those mid-century modern clothes and interior design (even if I didn't care for them very much). Years passed, and Doris Day was no longer on my radar. Then I read the talented Diane Vallere's "Material Witness" cozy series and thought I'd give another of hers a try. I dove into The Decorator Who Knew Too Much, even though, up to that point, I'd been ignoring the Madison Night/Mad for Mod books because of their "too cute" covers. Now I love the covers that remind me of the McCall's and Simplicity patterns my grandmother used when she made all my clothes. I think Doris Day is an actress who had an amazing range and that she makes a perfect role model. What about the mid-century modern interior design? Well, you're never going to find it in my house, but I now have an appreciation for it, and I can absolutely love it when reading the books in this series.
I enjoyed Teacher's Threat a lot. It takes a good book to make me forget that I'm sitting in an Emergency Room waiting room, and this book did the trick. I didn't find the mystery aspect of the book overly taxing-- there were two secondary characters who stuck out like sore thumbs to me so I knew they were up to something-- but it was more than good enough to hold ER Funk at bay. The mystery also introduced me to two police officers named Ling Tsu and Sue Niedermeyer whose 99% rating on suspect confessions has led to a new saying at the Lakewood Police Department: You've been Sued. I definitely want to see more of these two in future books!
The cast of characters is far from static, and the character who's changed the most is Donna "Nasty" Nast. Well, that's not quite accurate. Nasty hasn't changed, it's just that readers have learned more about her as Madison has. Nasty may be abrasive. She may say exactly what's on her mind. Her conversation may not be littered with please's and thank you's, but that's not what really matters. This is one intelligent woman who's made a life and a successful business all by herself, and when your chips are down, this is one person you want on your side. Neither Nasty or Madison would ever want to admit how similar they are, but readers can just smile at them and feel indulgent.

What can really make me fall in love with these Madison Night mysteries is when Madison's creative juices start flowing. When her natural talents for design, for pulling things together start to percolate, these books can sing. The simple act of creation fires them up, and it doesn't make one molecule's difference that I don't care for mid-century modern design. Madison has the power to make her passion my passion, and that takes the kind of talent that will keep me coming back for more. I was thrilled when things began-- finally!-- to look up for Madison and her business!

Do you think the book covers are too cute? Get over it. Do you think Doris Day is a crazy choice for a role model? Get over it. Do you think mid-century modern clothing and interior design are ugly? Get over it. Because if you don't, you'll be missing out on an excellent, unique cozy mystery series with an intelligent heroine who will never go out of style. Hurry up and write the next one, please!

Teacher's Threat by Diane Vallere
eISBN: 9781954579132
Polyester Press © 2021
eBook, 276 pages

Cozy Mystery, #8 Madison Night mystery
Rating: A-
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. You certainly make this cozy sound tempting. It sounds like a good choice for de-stressing and distraction.

    Hope you're not in an ER again now about your leg.

    And I have always liked Doris Day. I liked her movies years ago, and I have liked her as a person. I think she supports animal rescues and care. That increases her rating in my book.

    1. This is a good series for de-stressing and distraction.

      I've always liked Day as a person and for her support of animal welfare.

      For once, I wasn't in the ER about my leg. Will wonders never cease?

  2. You are so right, Cathy, about the way tastes change and perspectives change as we get older. I've often thought I ought to go back to some of the books I didn't like much as a younger person and see what I think of them now. This story does sound interesting, and you had me, I'll be honest, at the college campus setting, even though I know it's not the main premise of the series. I can see why you liked it.

    1. There is a lot to like about the entire series, Margot.

  3. I have to admit that the cover of this one would scare me away, but I agree with you on just about everything else you say here, especially Doris Day and her movies. She was a pretty good dramatic actress at one point in her career, as I recall, and I've enjoyed going back and watching lots of movies recently from the forties and fifties that still hold up pretty well. Tastes do change, but the good stuff usually manages to survive at least long enough for a comeback.

  4. I have heard many good things about this series. I love the covers! For some odd reason my library doesn't carry this series. I may have to track it down another way.

    1. I hope you are able to track it down, Gretchen, because I really think you'd enjoy this series.


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