3 Star rating
Suede to Rest
Material Witness Mystery #1
By Diane Vallere
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


With her career as a dress designer in shreds, Polyester Monroe is looking forward to a fresh start. But as it all unfolds, the pattern to a new beginning looks a lot like murder.

When Poly Monroe was little, she loved playing in her family’s textile store. But after a fatal family tragedy, Land of A Thousand Fabrics was boarded up and Poly never expected to see the inside again. Now, as inheritor of the long-shuttered shop, she’s ready to restore the family business. However her two new kittens, Pins and Needles, aren’t the ones causing a snag in her plans…

Not everyone wants Poly back in San Ladrón, especially a powerful local developer pressuring her to sell—and leave town fast. But even when the threats turn deadly, she’s not ready to bolt. Because Poly is beginning to suspect that the murder behind the shop is tied to a mystery in her family’s unsettled past that she’s determined to solve…before her own life is left hanging by a thread. (Goodreads)


San Ladron, a small Southern California town, is home to Polyester Monroe’s great-aunt and great-uncle’s fabric store.  Uncle Marius recently passed away and left the store to Poly, and the shop has been shuttered for the past ten years after Aunt Millie was murdered in a robbery gone wrong.  Poly spent a lot of time at the store growing up, was literally born there (hence her cringe worthy name), but has not thought much about it since it closed and Uncle Marius withdrew from the family.  She had planned to zip into town for the day, sign papers, and list the store for sale.  In fact, there is a buyer waiting, the same man who is buying up all of the property on the street.  However, when she gets there memories flood in, and she thinks that maybe this is her opportunity to leave her unfulfilling job as a prom dress designer.  She is soon afforded the opportunity to think it over when she discovers her car has been vandalized and will take some time to repair.  When dangerous things begin to happen to her and the head of the Senior Patrol (crime watchers) is found dead behind the shop, she believes the present situation and her aunt’s murder from the past might be connected.  She reacquaints herself with the town folk but is unsure who she can trust, but she is determined to figure it all out.

I liked this first book in a new series, but I must confess that I groaned aloud when I saw that the protagonist was named Polyester.  I thought maybe this took the fabric store theme a bit far and the book would dive into corny no man’s land, but I was appeased when the author explained the origin of her name.  However, I still think it is a dreadful choice and found it a distraction from the story anytime I read it.  Poly is likeable though relatively roughly drawn at this point, as are most of the supporting characters.  There are plenty of people introduced to keep the story moving and provide plot twists.  I fully understand setting up the characters here and giving them depth and growth as the series progresses, and I look forward to seeing how they develop, particularly Vaughn and Charlie.  If Vaughn is truly a good guy, he might prove to be a fan favorite.  I enjoyed getting to know Marius and Millie and am a bit sad that they will not be active characters in future adventures.  My main quibble with the book, and it is minor, is that I disliked Poly and her boyfriend Carson’s relationship.  They seemed to bring out the worst in each other.

Suede to Rest was an easy, but engaging, read, and I perused most of it in one day.  It contains all of the elements of a successful cozy series – a plucky protagonist, a possible love triangle, characters with secrets, a small community, and cats.  I anticipate visiting Poly and San Ladron again.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*