When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons.
She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life.
“If you love Doris Day, you’ll love Madison Night, decorator extraordinaire. She specializes in restoring mid-century homes and designs, and her latest project involves abductions, murder and vengeance.” – Books for Avid Readers
“Diane Vallere…has a wonderful touch, bringing in the design elements and influences of the ’50s and ’60s era many of us hold dear while keeping a strong focus on what it means in modern times to be a woman in business for herself, starting over.” – Fresh Fiction
Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, Doris Day.
Books in the Madison Night Humorous Mystery Series:
MIDNIGHT INK (prequel novella in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE)
PILLOW STALK (#1)
THAT TOUCH OF INK (#2)
WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL (#3)
THE DECORATOR WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (#4)
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...
After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. She is a Lefty Best Humorous Mystery Nominee and, in addition to the Madison Night series, writes the Material Witness and Style & Error mysteries. Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Visit her at www.dianevallere.com.
The Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere is the 4th entry in the Madison Night Humorous Mystery Series. It’s a fun trip down memory line for those of us who remember the ‘50s and ‘60s, but it’s also a riveting mystery with danger and depth.
I knew I was already stuck in mid-century, but I didn’t realize what a Dayniac I am until now. The title The Decorator Who Knew Too Much made me think of the Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much with James Stewart and – you got it – Doris Day! Handyman boyfriend Hudson James: Rock Hudson?? James Stewart?? James Garner?? Anyway, interior decorator Madison Night is one of a kind. She is wild about Doris Day and plays up her resemblance to her with mid-century clothes and accessories. The Simplicity pattern numbers had me remembering sewing in the ‘60s with my mom. But there’s more to Madison than just a quirky style. She’s a real woman trying to run her business and live her life unafraid, despite nightmares from an abduction and near-death experience in her past.
This trip to Palm Springs is supposed to be a working vacation with Hudson, a chance to get away, relax and have some fun with Hudson’s sister Emma and her husband Jimmy. But from the start everything goes wrong. Madison and Hudson are run off the road before they even get to Emma & Jimmy’s. Things aren’t what they expected with Emma and Jimmy. Madison see a body floating in the water the first day on the job, but the body then disappears. She really doesn’t want to be involved in solving a crime, but no one believes what she saw, she starts having nightmares again, and she finds herself threatened by some dangerous characters.
I enjoyed The Decorator Who Knew Too Much. The mystery was good and kept me guessing. The characters have depth and surprise you. Despite her obsession with Doris Day and unconventional way of dressing, at 48 years of age Madison has lived real life and isn’t a cutesy airhead. Her dog Rocky (Rock again!) is her biggest love, but she is exploring the relationship with Hudson, and the continuing contact with Capt. Tex Allen back in Dallas provides an intriguing what-if. The mystery is satisfactorily resolved, but there are enough unanswered questions at the end to make you ready for the book. I highly recommend The Decorator Who Knew Too Much. I received an advance copy from the publisher Henery Press and the author via NetGalley.
Fourth book in A Madison Night Mystery series!
The Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere is the fourth book in A Madison Night Mystery series. Madison Night and her boyfriend, Hudson James are heading to Palm Springs for two weeks. It is going to be part getaway and part work. Hudson has agreed to help his brother-in-law, Jimmy work on his dream project. Jimmy wishes to create a midcentury modern strip mall and Madison is the perfect decorator to assist him. Their visit, though, is fraught from the very beginning. Their car is sideswiped as they near Jimmy and Emma’s home. The next day, Madison arrives at the job site and her hat falls into the Whitewater River. As she bends over to retrieve it, she sees a body floating under the surface of the water. Before the police arrive, the corpse disappears. Madison goes on a sketching excursion and ends up getting attacked. She arrives at the house to discover that Jimmy is upset with her. He lost a day of work. The next morning, Jimmy vents his frustration. Madison and her dog, Rocky decamp to a local motel. This is not the trip that Hudson had planned for them. Madison has been having a tough time since her last brush with danger in Texas. She has been suffering from nightmares and is having to rely on sleeping pills. It is recommended she consult a therapist and is given the name of Dr. Albert Hall. Madison leaves him a message, but she soon discovers that he is no longer taking patients. The missing river victim is found in a quarry by hikers. The victim is none other than Dr. Hall. Madison starts delving into the case and finds it more complex than it first appeared. She has all these various pieces of information. Madison will need to shift them around and fit them together to get the complete picture. Can Madison figure out the identity of the culprit before it is too late?
The Decorator Who Knew Too Much is part of a series and some parts of the story are a little confusing if you have not read the previous novels. While the author provides details on why Madison loves vintage fashions, midcentury modern design and Doris Day, details what has caused her PTSD are lacking. I did find The Decorator Who Knew Too Much to be easy to read (good pace/flow) and nicely written. I liked the authors writing style and the humor she injected into the story. I appreciate Madison’s love of vintage fashions (her clothes sound unique and beautiful). I give The Decorator Who Knew Too Much 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery comes across as complex, but I thought the identity of the perpetrators easy to uncover. In the beginning of the book, it states that Madison and Hudson are going on vacation. This is mentioned more than once, but then we are told that they will be working. How is this a vacation? Is it because they are in a different city? I was curious how Madison, a decorator, could assist on a project that has not been started. I found some information to be repeated a few times throughout the book (Madison’s love of Doris Day, vintage fashions, and her dog, Rocky). The book is written from Madison and Tex’s (Captain Tex Allen) point-of-views. I was not a fan of this format. Tex’s sections did not enhance or help the story (for the most part). I prefer novels that are told from one person’s perspective or from the third person. Personally, I believe Tex and Madison would make a great couple. Hudson is not the best partner for Madison with her love of sleuthing. At the end of the book, readers are left with some unanswered questions. I wish the author had provided a better recap of the offender’s actions.