Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Twisty plot, Madison, fun
Cons: Climax has a timing plot hole
The Bottom Line:
Super Doris fan
Finds herself in puzzling case
Fun, twisty debut
Loving Doris Day Might Get Madison Night Killed
A couple of months ago, I made a point of watching Pillow Talk as prep for starting Diane Vallere’s Madison Night series. Why? Because Madison is a huge fan of Doris Day’s movies, and the first in the series is called Pillow Stalk.
Madison Night is an interior decorator who specializes in mid-century modern – you know, the 50’s and 60’s, the time period of Doris Day’s movies. She’s recently relocated to Dallas, where she had opened Mad for Mod. With this retro style being so popular, her business is beginning to take off.
However, things take an unusual turn when someone is murdered outside Madison’s car at the local pool. In fact, at first, people think that Madison herself had been murdered. Then the murder weapon turns out to be one of several pillows that Madison had in her trunk. With the police focused on her friend and handyman Hudson, Madison begins to wonder just what she’s gotten caught up in. This is far from one of Doris Day’s comedies. But do the police have her under surveillance because they think she knows something or because they think she will be the next target?
The premise of the book is very clever. The story brings in Madison’s decorating and love of Doris Day in a completely organic way and made them an integral part of the plot. Being a guy, I can testify that the decorating doesn’t slow down the plot. Trust me, if it had, I would have been bored. And what I don’t know about Doris Day fills volumes, but I got what I needed to know without it being an issue at all.
And what a plot! There are twists. There are turns. There are events that keep us turning the pages. And that’s just in the first quarter of the book. Trust me, the pace is fast and the plot keeps you guessing. I did find the climax a little out there, but it seemed to fit the book. I also think there is a plot hole involving timing of a couple of events, but I’m not super concerned about it.
Most cozies I read feature a late 20’s female main character, so I found Madison’s late 40’s age to be refreshing. She still has some familiar baggage, but she approaches life differently, which I enjoyed. I’m not so sure we got to know either of the male leads super well yet, but we see hints of more depth to them that can be explored in future books.
And yes, this does mean that Madison’s love life is complicated. Would you expect anything else from a series inspired by the romantic comedies of Doris Day?
Speaking of which, did I need to see Pillow Talk before reading this book? No. But since it is referenced several times in the story, I did find it fun to have some idea what they were talking about. I intend to continue watching the movies before I read the rest of the series.