A Domestic Bliss Mystery #1
“Sparkles with charm, design lore, and a sleuth with a great mantra. Cozy fans will embrace the Domestic Bliss series.” —Carolyn Hart, Edgar Award-winning author of Letters from Home
“TREND: For killer decorating tips, pick up Death by Inferior Design…advice is woven into this whodunit featuring rival designers as sleuths.” –House and Garden Magazine
“This story is delightful in every way…entertaining, humorous, serious, and totally engrossing from the first page to the last. And sprinkled throughout are tasty decorating tips.” –Midwest Book Review
“Her latest decorating job will make you feel like you’ve stumbled across the deadly side of HGTV.” —Jerrilyn Farmer, #1 Los Angeles Times bestselling author of the Madeline Bean mysteries
Interior decorator, Erin Gilbert heads to picturesque Crestview, Colorado for a friendly (if sharks are friendly) competition: She’ll design a room in one home; and the impossibly handsome Steve Sullivan—her main rival—will do a room in another. The prize? A big feature in Denver Magazine, showcasing their interior design business.
Who could have dreamed the uproar to ensue in a neighborhood full of eccentric homeowners, jealously hidden secrets and a few marriages in need of total makeovers. Trapped together in the midst of chaos, could the charming Steve turn out to be a…friend?
But between her custom, cushy pillows and dramatic drapery, Erin uncovers a very undecorative dead body, too many suspects, and a killer who seems to have designs…on her!
First-time author Caine's decorating-theme contemporary cozy blends mystery fiction with design information to decidedly mixed results. Designer Erin Gilbert arrives at a bedroom redecoration job to find a bizarre decorating competition underway, a handsome rival (amusingly named Sullivan) pitted against her and a baby picture of herself hidden in the paneling she's slated to replace. Adopted by a mother who forbade her to search for her origins, Erin decides the photo is proof that one of the three unappealing couples sponsoring the competition must be her birth parents. Her search to determine which couple turns sinister, however, when two parental possibilities are poisoned and she herself barely escapes attack. The plotting of both the parentage and murder mysteries is patently absurd; Erin just happens to carry around cyanide given to her as a gift by her ex-boyfriend, for example. In addition, the story's momentum is frequently interrupted by strained decorating analogies ("my birth parents had shuffled me around like an odd-looking table lamp that didn't quite blend with their home decor") and lengthy design disquisitions on everything from curtain rods to kitchen islands. Sadly, this unnecessary thematic clutter overwhelms Caine's appealing heroine and warm, genuinely winning voice.
An excellent read. Light, but well-crafted. Fun, well-developed characters and a plot that kept me guessing, but was still believable. Only reason I didn't give it five stars was because of all the typos.
It keeps you engaged and trying to figure it out as you read makes it even more enjoyable!
Death by inferior design
I enjoyed the book but felt there were too many descriptions of Erin’s job. It seemed to go on and on so that I just started skipping parts. It would have been better if it were condensed into a shorter book.