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terror in taffeta book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

We’ve all heard of the dreaded ‘bride-zilla’. Well, hang on to your bonnets, ‘cause here is the ‘mother-of-the-bride-zilla’ to end all such categorizations! Mercy!

Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna has the destination wedding of Nicole Abernathy to Vince Moreno totally planned–down to the last flower petal. The young California couple had originally planned on a Napa Wine Country wedding until Kelsey mentioned the word ‘Mexico’ and immediately, everything changed. Nicole and Zoe, her sister and one of the bridesmaids, literally pounced on the idea, and all was set in motion, much to the distress of the above-mentioned MOTB, Mrs. Abernathy.

The village of San Miguel de Allende was of a nice size to allow convenience as well as scenic delights. It was a virtual paradise until the day of the wedding, when events began to go astray. At first, one bridesmaid becomes seriously ill just before the priest pronounces the happy couple to be husband and wife. Soon after, Kelsey discovers that Dana, a friend of the bride and last-minute addition to the wedding party, isn’t merely ill, but dead, and all hell breaks loose! It appears that Dana was poisoned. Immediately, the wedding party is forbidden to leave the area while the police investigate.

There are no end of difficulties presented to Kelsey as the person responsible for the fiasco that results in Zoe being jailed under suspicion of murder. Here is where Mrs. Abernathy becomes the champion MOTB-zilla. In her opinion, everything that has gone wrong is solely the province of Kelsey. And it is Kelsey, therefore, who must immediately see that Zoe is released from jail so that the family may return to the safety and comfort of their home in San Francisco. The police, however, having a candidate for the crime in their jail, are in no hurry to find another candidate, while Zoe loses weight, and her Mom yells ceaselessly at Kelsey, heaping ever more blame on the wedding planner.

Drawing on her endless resourcefulness and the aid of her photographer friend Brody Marx, who is no slouch in his own right, they finally do uncover the culprit. It’s a long and twisty trail that they follow, led by both old and new friends, but eventually, all the pieces fall in place, and the happy couple are – at last — allowed to begin their honeymoon.

I truly loved Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper and hope that Kelsey finds many more brides and grooms in her future. The author did a superb job of blending the clues into the narrative so that you didn’t even realize they were there until you needed them. It’s also very obvious that Cooper is familiar with both wedding planning and at least a portion of Mexico to be able to describe the surroundings with such accuracy. Yet, the setting never intrudes into the narrative, and the reader is left with the notion that she’s been there, right alongside the bridal party!  Well, not in the jailhouse, of course!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

First and foremost, Kelly is a reader, then a writer and editor. She adores Regency-set novels, and cozy mysteries. Every now and then, however, she finds something else to enjoy if it has a great premise with characters who belong in there, and fabulous writing! She writes under her own name, as well as her pen-name, Hetty St. James.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Minotaur Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.