This is the eighth book in the Scrapbooking Mystery series by Laura Childs.
Carmela Bertrand is the owner of a little scrapbooking store in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Carmela's business is blooming and she is enjoying her new relationship with Detective Edgar Babcock, after her divorce from her annoying husband Shamus. Carmela and her best friend and Voodoo store owner Ava are getting ready for Halloween and are busy creating a giant monster puppet for the Monsters and Mayhem parade. When Brett Fowler is found killed with the head of a Minotaur puppet, Carmela's good friend and designer of the Minotaur, Jekyl Hardy, becomes the main suspect. As Carmela cannot refuse her friend's plea for help, she and Ava begin to look into the case even though their investigation puts them in great danger, and creates tension in Carmela's relationship with her overprotective boyfriend.
Although not the best in the series, this is a well written mystery, with well developed and likable characters, fascinating and gripping plot, great descriptions of New Orleans and fantastic atmosphere. Once more Childs sets her story during Halloween and takes advantage of the eerie and spooky atmosphere of New Orleans. Particularly, the descriptions of Halloween themed events like the performance of the "Ballet Dracula", Ava's Vampire Tour, and Baby's Halloween party are amazing and inspiring. Sadly, apart from the mystery, the story revolves way too much around Carmela's and Ava's love lives. Also, although Ava is a well developed and fun secondary character, all the focus she is given this time, exposes her a little as a one-dimensional caricature, which is sad.
Apart from the great mystery plot, as this is a Scrapbooking Mystery there are a lot of Scrapbooking trivia; information about various techniques and materials, decoration ideas and various crafting ideas, all these weaved into the story. Naturally, as this is a Halloween themed book it has many inspiring ideas for Halloween crafts and decorations as well. Also, there are very detailed descriptions of the mouth-watering dishes prepared by Carmela and her friends and there are recipes at the end of the book for some of these dishes. Sadly the author is starting to get repetitive and a bit uninspired with her recipes. In addition to the recipes, there are interesting and useful Scrapbook Tips & Tricks from Laura Childs.
The Favorite New Orleans Recipes include, "Pralines", "Carmela's Cajun Shrimp Bake", "Black-Bottom Banana Bars", "Pork and Sweet Potato Bayou Casserole", "Spunky, Funky, Black Bean Chicken", "Jezebel Sauce", "Juju Voodoo Chicken Wings", "Neon Voodoo Cocktail", "Candied Fruit Banana Bread", and "Dr Pepper Tickle-Your-Ribs Spareribs".
In addition, the book includes a preview of the next book in the Scrapbooking Mysteries; Skeleton Letters (Scrapbooking Mystery)