Go to Homepage   Dolores Johnson: Buttons and Foes

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsMinotaur Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0312283962
Mandy Dyer, Denver drycleaner, inherits garbage bags filled with old cotton dresses from Thelma, an elderly customer and friend. Bewildered by the odd bequest, the amateur sleuth searches the dresses for anything out of place and discovers strange mismatched buttons on all the dresses. Some of the buttons don't even line up with the buttonholes. Could they be clues? Was Thelma's fall down the basement stairs not an accident?

Book: Dolores Johnson, buttons and foesOf course it wasn't! Mandy contacts button experts from a variety of social classes -- from the country club dwelling Genevieve, to the ventriloquist busker named, appropriately enough, Buttons. While learning more than she ever really wanted to know about buttons and button collecting, Mandy also becomes wrapped up in investigating Thelma's neighbors and relatives, as she just knows that something doesn't add up.

An elderly woman with arthritis, Thelma never went to the basement anymore, fearing that she would fall. She even sent all her laundry to Dyer's Cleaners, because she refused to risk the trip down to the laundry room. Thelma told Mandy this herself, yet some of Thelma's neighbors tell a different story.

Book: Dolores johnson, a dress to die forAlong the way, Mandy must rely on an interesting cast of characters to help her: Betty, a former bag lady now in her employ; Nat, her oldest friend and newspaper reporter; and her thespian plant manager, Mack. Even the bully from Mandy's childhood days, who she once stood up on a date in high school, shows up as the private detective she hires to do some background checks. Her patience running thin with all of them and their shenanigans, Mandy struggles to keep all her facts and friends straight while trying to do right by Thelma and find the murderer.

This reviewer would be interested in reading some of the earlier novels in this series. Buttons and Foes, the sixth in the series, seems a bit formulaic in places. Mandy's attitude towards people seems a little odd too, more like that of an old curmudgeon, rather than that of a single woman in her thirties. Nevertheless Buttons and Foes offers a solid, middle of the road kind of mystery. It won't make your heart pound or your mind race, but it will provide some nice light reading.

Ceridwen S. Lewin

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