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Paper Scissors Death: A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery    by Joanna Campbell Slan order for
Paper Scissors Death
by Joanna Campbell Slan
Order:  USA  Can
Midnight Ink, 2008 (2008)

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* * *   Reviewed by Pat Elliott

Kiki Lowenstein said she is only good at two things, scrapbooking and getting pregnant. Her beloved daughter Anya is the result of an unplanned pregnancy. But even an unexpected daughter can become a blessing. The thing is Kiki had no idea trouble came in bunches like bananas until her husband, George, was found naked and dead in a motel room with an expensive silk scarf stuffed in his mouth.

Things get worse from there. The police dismiss his death as a heart attack. But Kiki suspects the half a million dollars missing from his company has something to do with it. Was he murdered? Who did the silk scarf belong to and where is the half a million dollars? And who is the mysterious persons receiving regular checks from George's bank account?

With no help from her mother-in-law Sheila who received all George's life insurance, Kiki must sell everything including her expensive house in an exclusive St. Louis neighborhood. Sheila bends enough to pay daughter Anya's private school tuition but moves behind Kiki's back to prove Kiki an unfit mother.

Kiki's only friend is her former housekeeper, Mert, who is street wise and keeps Kiki from falling off the deep end, and Dodie Goldfather, who gives Kiki a job in her scrapbooking store, Time in a Bottle. With the police no longer interested, Kiki knows if her husband was murdered, then she must find the murderer. Tension mounts as Kiki's rental house is burgled. Then another body turns up, and this one just happens to be George's former girlfriend whom Kiki has threatened.

Many of her former friends and neighbors buy supplies at Time in a Bottle and Kiki is subtly able to piece together George's last hours. Secrets are uncovered like scraps of photos. Kiki puts the pieces together and the answer is revealed but not before Kiki is nearly killed herself.

Slan's sleuth Kiki Lowenstein is smart and crafty. Her hair-raising brushes with life and death will keep you rooting for her every step of the way. Slan is a veteran writer and talented scrapbooker whose tips and methods appear in the book.

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