"The Diva Paints the Town" is the third installment in the domestic diva mystery series by Krista Davis. I picked the first one up a while back and enjoyed it enough to go on and read the second one. The second one was interesting enough to get the third one and, at this point, I have gone ahead and purchased them all for my Kindle.
This cozy mystery again features Sophie Winston, an event planner living in Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia. As the book opens, her long-time neighbor has just died. Even though he was a recluse and they never had much interaction, he requested that she arrange a dinner gathering for guests he specified. Not only is the guest list exact, nothing about the dinner is left to Sophie - the menu, decorations, and even the arrangement of the furniture is specified. As always, she is running in ten different directions and having difficulty fitting everything in. She is doing the event planning for Rooms and Blooms, a home show for the area and she is just about to get drug into helping with a decorator's show house. You would think that would be enough, but her friend and neighbor goes out with an old flame who turns up dead but then the body mysteriously disappears to Sophie's great surprise.
Just about everyone we met in the first and second installment make return appearances so it is helpful to the reader to have read the previous books (not required, but I think you would enjoy this one more). As with the other books, Natasha, a Martha Stewart type character, plays a prominent role and adds quite a dose of humor to the book. Each chapter begins with a snippet of home-decorating advice which also adds levity to the murder mystery and also serves to further solidify the characters through their own words.
This series continues to be solid and enjoyable. I did think the ending was a bit rushed and confusing which keeps it from being a 5-star for me. I was reading close to the time I was going to sleep so I thought it might be me. I went back and re-read the final chapters when fully alert and it still felt a bit forced. Other than that, the setting is fun, the characters interesting, and the humor is entertaining. Well worth a read for fans of the genre.