Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review: Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper (Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun, wonderful mystery, great characters
Cons: One minor niggle
The Bottom Line:
Death of a bridesmaid
Complex and fun mystery
Fantastic debut

No Reason to be Terrified – This is a Fantastic Debut

Sometimes, when you try a new author, you know by the end of the first chapter you are going to love the book.  For me, that was the case with Terror in Taffeta, the debut mystery by Marla Cooper.  The smile I had on my face stayed with me for the rest of the book.

As the book opens, destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is working on getting her latest bride and bridesmaids down the aisle for a wedding.  The wedding is taking place in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and the wedding party went out drinking the night before, so they are feeling a little hungover.  That’s why Kelsey is only annoyed when Victim, a last minute bridesmaid, collapses just as the ceremony is ending.  Kelsey quickly hurries everyone out of the chapel to the reception only to realize that Dana Poole isn’t suffering from a massive hangover – she’s dead.

The police quickly rule it a homicide and arrest the maid of honor, who also happens to be the sister of the bride, for the crime.  That’s when Mrs. Abernathy, the very demanding mother of the bride, demands that Kelsey find out what really happened.  Pointing out that playing detective is outside her skill set is beside the point, so Kelsey begins to investigate.  It turns out that Dana wasn’t a very nice person, and the list of potential suspects is rather long.  But can Kelsey figure out what really happened?

The reason I fell in love with this book so quickly was the humor.  Kelsey has a very fun way of narrating the book, and it provides plenty of smiles and laughs as things progress.  She’s been a wedding planner long enough that she’s seen everything, or at least she thinks she’s seen everything since this is the first time there’s been a murder at a wedding she planned.

And while she may not know what she is doing as a detective, she manages to uncover quite a few clues and red herrings over the course of this book.  There are some wonderful twists and surprises before we reach the logical climax.  I did think that one red herring wasn’t completely wrapped up, but maybe I’m just being extremely picky.  Either way, it is a very minor issue.

And the characters are great.  Kelsey is a charming and resourceful main character.  There are only a couple of characters who will be series regulars here, but I liked them as well.  And the rest of the cast?  Some edge toward over the top, but I loved them for it.  The rest are very realistic and keep things grounded.  My favorite, however, as the mother of the bride.  Mrs. Abernathy was definitely over the top, but she was fun.  I looked forward to seeing her pop up on the page.

San Miguel is a nice backdrop for this debut.  While the focus is the mystery, we still get some glimpses into this location, and that adds a nice touch to the book.

Humor, fun characters, a great mystery, and an exotic location.  What more could you want?  RSVP yes for Terror in Taffeta today.  Personally, I’ve already saved the date for the sequel.

NOTE: While I am reviewing this book as part of a blog tour, I bought the book for myself back in April.  My thoughts are, as always, completely my own.


  1. I love that feeling when a book just clicks with me! This one sounds like a great read and I love when there's humor in my cozy mysteries. I'll definitely have to look for this one.

  2. Mark! Thanks so much for having me on your blog, and for the awesome review of Terror in Taffeta! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it, and now I'm going to use lots of exclamation points to show you how much!!!!

  3. Mark, Thanks for such a great review for my POSSE friend, Marla. Terror's on my list!

  4. A destination wedding with a murder should make for an interesting read. Can't wait to read.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful beginning for a fun series! Would love to win this book.