Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Guest Blog by Diane Vallere and Review of A Disguise to Die For and Giveaway

Please welcome Diane Vallere to The Qwillery. A Disguise to Die For, the first Costume Shop Mystery, was published on February 2nd by Berkley.

Growing Up With Costumes
by Diane Vallere

My parents gave me a long brown wig for my seventh birthday. It’s unclear how they knew that this would be an awesome present for a second grader, but I remember being delighted beyond my wildest dreams. One summer day, while my mom and dad were lounging out back of our house, I dressed up in my yellow dance leotard, a yellow, pink, and light blue maxi skirt, the long wig, and my mom’s oversized sunglasses and then went out back to join them.

I was surprised by how hard they laughed.

Throughout my growing-up years, costumes came and went. Sometimes they were in the form of inherited clothes from a great grandparent that were inappropriate for every day but possible for Halloween (a long, full black skirt with layers of netting underneath—perfect for a witch costume, a pair of baggy men’s pants from the forties—perfect for a hobo). Sometimes they were styles that went out of fashion but were relegated to the box of paint clothes (a pair of denim bell bottoms that were printed with seashells). Sometimes they were items made by my mom (a blue and white checkered dress inspired by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz). I didn’t play dress up to be someone else, I played dress up because I was figuring out who I was.

As I got older, I started to develop my own sense of style. In the eighties, that meant neon, fishnet, and a punk-meets-preppy vibe. Clothes that others would have thought of as costumey felt completely normal to me. Thrift shop purchases mixed with sweaters worn backwards, two different colored shoes, men’s vintage tuxedo jackets and my mom’s bowling shoes became “me.” I went from being a quiet wallflower to having an identity.

Fast forward to today. Many of my outfits have names: there’s the Amelia Earhart (sage green leather dress with cargo pockets), the Coco Chanel (black boatneck sweater, wide leg pants, tons of pearls and a white camellia), my Chinatown suit (ivory pants and blazer). My black crocheted poncho makes me feel like Batman and I have no less than five dresses to choose from if invited to a luau. Like Margo in A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, to me, costumes are clothes—or should I say clothes are costumes? Either way, I love getting dressed in the morning!

A Disguise to Die For
Author:  Diane Vallere
Series:  A Costume Shop Mystery 1
Publisher:  Berkley, February 2, 2016
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  US$7.99 (print and eBook)
ISBN:  9780425278284 (print); 9780698183421 (print)

Someone is dressed to kill in the debut Costume Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness mysteries.

No sooner does former magician’s assistant Margo Tamblyn return home to Proper City, Nevada, to run Disguise DeLimit, her family’s costume shop, than she gets her first big order. Wealthy nuisance Blitz Manners needs forty costumes for a detective-themed birthday bash. As for Blitz himself, his Sherlock Holmes is to die for—literally—when, in the middle of the festivities, Margo’s friend and party planner Ebony Welles is caught brandishing a carving knife over a very dead Blitz.

For Margo, clearing Ebony’s name is anything but elementary, especially after Ebony flees town. Now Margo is left to play real-life detective in a town full of masked motives, cloaked secrets, and veiled vendettas. But as she soon learns, even a killer disguise can’t hide a murderer in plain sight for long.



Qwill's Thoughts

A Disguise to Die For is set in the small Nevada town of Proper City, which is not far from Las Vegas.  Margo Tamblyn is home to help run the family business - Disguise DeLimit. Her Dad is recovering from a heart attack and Margo is there for a few days to help out.

Proper City has an interesting history that is shared over the course of the novel and a huge fascination with costumes. Almost every party and event in Proper is costumed. When Blitz Manners' party plans go awry he turns to Disguise DeLimit and Shindig (a party planning business owned by Ebony Welles) to put together a detective-themed party on very short notice. Margo and Ebony get the job done, but Blitz is murdered at the party. Ebony is the main suspect.

Ebony helped raise Margo and Margo knows that Ebony could not possibly be a murderer. Margo sets out to clear her friend as more and more clues point the police to Ebony. Along the way she reluctantly accepts help from the son of the owners of a local restaurant due to Ebony's insistence.

I love Margo's relationship with her Dad and with Ebony. Margo is quirky, smart and loyal. She does have some trust issues but she knows that. She wears costumes every day (as regular clothing) and her thoughts about why she does this are introspective and interesting.

While there is no outright romance in A Disguise to Die For there is certainly a love interest for Margo and hints of things to come (I hope).

I enjoyed A Disguise to Die For. There are plenty of red herrings, a diverse cast, secrets, and a well done mystery, but what really stands out are the terrific and authentic characters. A Disguise to Die For is a fun, exciting and engaging start to a new cozy series.

About Diane

Photo by Nicole Ortega
Diane Vallere also writes the Lefty-nominated Material Witness series which includes Suede to Rest and Crushed Velvet, as well as the Mad for Mod and Style & Error series. At age ten, Diane launched her own detective agency and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.

Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @dianevallere

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of A Disguise to Die For by Diane Vallere from the publisher. US ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on March 4, 2016. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*


  1. Thanks for this intriguing mystery which I would enjoy greatly.

  2. What a great background to focus a mystery around. Thanks for sharing information about the book.

  3. I own some books in each of Diane's other two series and enjoyed them immensely. I'd love to add this first in a new series to my home library for my family to share.

  4. What an intriguing book! Love the cover and would love to add this book to my cozy mystery collection. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  5. I love other series by Diane, I know I'd love this one.