An exploding Mardi Gras float has got to be the strangest murder weapon scrappy sleuth Carmela Bertrand has ever encountered in this latest Scrapbooking Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author.
It's Mardi Gras in New Orleans and scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand is excited to be attending the Pluvius Parade along with her best friend Ava. Carmela's ex-husband Shamus rides by the duo on his float at the head of the parade, when suddenly the revelry turns to disaster. Shamus' float crashes and explodes, and although Shamus escapes unhurt, a member of his krewe is killed.
Carmela and Ava plunge into an investigation of the krewe-member's death, but as they dig deeper it starts to look less like an accident and more like a murder....and Shamus seems less like a victim, and more like a suspect.
About the Author
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scrapbooking Mysteries, the Tea Shop Mysteries, and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show.
Read an Excerpt
"Lookit!" Ava cried. "There's your butthead of an ex-husband riding up there on the King Neptune float."
Carmela Bertrand stood on tiptoes and turned ice chip-blue eyes toward the enormous, glittering Mardi Gras float that was steamrolling toward them, lit up like a Christmas tree against the dark faades of historic French Quarter buildings. And sure enough, there he was, grinning from ear to ear as he and two dozen krewe members tossed strands of golden beads into the hands of a screaming, frenzied crowd.
"Shamus," Carmela said, his name dripping from her lips like honeyed poison. Any follow-up comment was completely drowned out as fifty brass horns blared a collective note and lithe dancers twirling flaming candelabras high-stepped their way down Royal Street. It was Tuesday night, a full week before Fat Tuesday, and most of New Orleans was already caught in the manic grip of Mardi Gras. The city was cranked up, ready to rock, and Carmela Bertrand and her BFF Ava Gruiex were smack-dab in the center of the maelstrom. Dressed for action in tight jeans, tighter T-shirts, and multiple strands of colored beads looped around their necks, they clutched geaux cups frothing with Abita Beer.
"Wouldn't you know it, Shamus hitched a ride on the very first float in the Pluvius parade," Carmela shouted to Ava above the raucous noise of the crowd. She tipped her head and pushed back loose strands of her shaggy blond bob as she took in the spectacle. A dozen marching bands had already tromped past them, along with clanking knights on horseback, a clown contingent, and a flotilla of exotic convertibles that carried smiling, waving Pluvius krewe royalty wearing gaudy, bedazzled crowns and capes of white faux fur. Enough white faux fur to decorate a Santa's village for decades to come.
"Gotta get some of those gold beads," Ava said as she grabbed Carmela's arm and pulled her closer to the curb, closer to the action. "Throw me somethin', mister!" she shouted out. Ava was tall and stacked, with a saturnine face and masses of dark curly hair. Men either loved Ava or were frightened to death by her. She was vivacious bordering on brash and oozed raw sex appeal.
Carmela would've scoffed at the notion that she was sexy, too. But her appeal was in her quiet, contained, almost mischievous persona. She was smart as a whip, driven to be a successful businesswoman (though her craft shop was small and humble by most standards), and she could hold her own with men. Carmela wasn't averse to tossing back a bourbon and branch while hashing out politics and smoking an occasional cigar.
"What's the parade theme this year?" Ava asked.
"Spirits of the Sea," Carmela said. "The theme's always supposed to be a deep dark secret until they start rolling, but you know Shamus . . . can't keep a secret."
Shamus, Carmela's ex, was an indolent Southern boy who, when he wasn't out drinking or chasing younger women, worked at his family's Crescent City Bank. Work being a very loose and haphazard description for what Shamus actually accomplished.
"Spirits," Ava said. "I guess that explains why King Neptune is hoisting that ginormous jug of wine."
The float was built to represent an ancient seagoing galleon, complete with billowing sails, three decks piled one on top of the other, and a carved, barely decent mermaid figure on the prow. Pluvius krewe members hung off every railing and crossbeam, tossing beads and waving at the crowd. Fifty-one weeks of the year, these men were business moguls and staid society leaders. Their walk-in closets probably held a pair of Berluti shoes to match every one of their Zegna, Burberry, and Armani suits. Tonight, however, they were all robed in white satin and wore white, expressionless masks.
On the very top deck of the float, a rotund King Neptune figure was firmly ensconced on his golden throne. His gigantic motorized head lolled back and forth, his mouth gaped open, and his eyes fluttered and blazed yellow. Every few seconds, a surge of golden glitter pumped out of his trident and shot high into the dark night sky.
"What's old King Neptune made out of?" Ava asked Carmela. "You're the crafty one. Does it look like papier-mâché?"
"I think Jekyl repurposed an old King Arthur figure from three years ago," Carmela said. "Reworked the face, added the trident, and draped that necklace of fish and shells around him." Jekyl Hardy was a well-known float builder and one of Carmela's dearest friends.
"Whatever he did, it's impressive," Ava said as the float rolled ever closer to them. "It even looks as if Neptune's tipping that big jug forward to offer us a nice splash of vino." She suddenly pinched Carmela's arm. "Wait, is something wrong? It almost looks like the jug—and the float—is tipping over."
Carmela blinked as the enormous float shuddered and then slowly listed to one side. An obnoxious screeching sound, like steel wheels grinding against hot coals, rose up to pierce the air. Startled krewe members grasped for handholds on their now-unsteady perch as the float began to shimmy and shake even more.
Did the float blow a tire? Or worse? Carmela decided it had to be worse because the float was suddenly pogoing up and down, jouncing and bouncing its krewe like mad. Then the entire float began to tremble from stem to stern, its tall mast and billowing sails shaking violently.
"Dear Lord," Ava said as people all around them began to cry out in alarm.
A mounted police officer tried to make his way toward the malfunctioning float, his horse's hooves clattering harshly against pavement. But the horse, sensing imminent danger, snorted and reared up in protest, pawing wildly in the air. The officer leaned forward, tugging on the reins, trying to get his horse under control as the float continued to sway from side to side, each motion more drastic and violent than the last.
"That float's about to crash and burn!" Carmela yelled as the crowd began to back away. She glanced at the front of the float, where Shamus and a few other krewe members were hanging on for dear life. And no wonder. The float seemed to have lost all control over its direction. It was headed right into a throng of onlookers, rolling like some deadly Trojan horse as it listed badly, a ruptured ocean liner about to sink.
"Get back, get back!" a policeman yelped. And the frightened crowd did jump back. Sort of.
But not all the way. Because watching the big float pitch and quake was strangely and dangerously hypnotic. Like watching a train wreck. And how often did you see a big-assed Mardi Gras float completely out of control? Well . . . never.
But the show had just begun.
Just as the prow of the Neptune float hit the curb and bounced hard, an ominous rumble sounded from deep within, as if some horrible monster was about to make an appearance.
"That thing's going to blow," Carmela shouted as she tried desperately to pull a hypnotized Ava out of harm's way.
The sound built in terrifying waves, rolling across the crowd, almost taking people's breath away as it rattled shop windows and neon bar signs with all the ferocity of an F6 tornado. When the explosion finally came, it was enormous. A deafening blast that was enough to call out the dead.
Carmela felt her jaw literally drop as she stared at the very top of the float. King Neptune's head was spinning violently, like a child's top. Then, with a whomp that resonated deep within the pit of her stomach, Neptune's head blew off and a shimmering fountain of glitter spewed forth into the velvety dark night sky. It flew up, up, up, until the sky was ablaze with what looked like a million points of light. When the glitter had reached its ultimate trajectory, it began to sift downward, landing softly on the heads of the crowd.
The float let loose a final gut-wrenching belch and shiver, so violent it catapulted krewe members off their perches. Some somersaulted down harmlessly to lower decks, but a few were tossed off the float only to land—splat—on the pavement!
"Somebody call 911!" Carmela cried out. She knew men were injured and in desperate need of help.
"We just called," a man behind her yelled. "Ambulance is on its way."
"Is Shamus . . . ?" Carmela's eyes searched the float for him. Had he been shaken off, too? She felt her stomach wobble as she gazed at the men lying in the street. Oh dear Lord, are they hurt badly? Please don't let anyone be dead, she prayed.
But wait. Men were slowly picking themselves up. They were groaning, but they were alive. Thank goodness.
Then a pile of white satin stirred and Carmela recognized Shamus. Without thinking, she rushed over and threw her arms around him.
"Are you all right?" Carmela cried. Ava was right there next to her, helping pull Shamus to his feet.
"Whuh hoppen?" Shamus stammered. He had a wonky look on his face and his eyes didn't quite focus.
"Your float crashed," Ava told him.
"No," Shamus said in a loud pronouncement, as if he'd just been told the earth was flat. Then, "It crashed, really?" His left eye wandered to the far left, hesitated, then seemed to snap back.
"Are you okay?" Carmela asked. "Anything broken?"
"You don't look so good, buddy," Ava said. "Your eyes have gone all googly."
Shamus took one step on wobbly legs and said, "I don't feel so good."
"Well, don't toss your cookies on me," Carmela said. She glanced around, deciding they'd all been incredibly lucky. Yes, the float was ruined, but it could have been so much worse. Nobody in the crowd appeared to be hurt . . .
Then she saw one man, still crumpled on the ground, who wasn't moving a muscle. "Oh no," Carmela said, her voice catching in her throat. "We need to . . ."
Shamus limped over to the man who was still laying on the pavement, looking like a fallen ghost in his bunched-up white robes, his body twisted in a most unnatural way. "Hey," Shamus said, kneeling down, putting a hand on the man's shoulder, "Hey, guy."
"Maybe you shouldn't try to move him," Carmela said. Now she and Ava had gathered around the fallen man as well. "Maybe we should wait for the EMTs to arrive. Let them bring in a backboard or something."
"The least we could do is wipe that gold glitter off the back of his head," Ava said, trying to be helpful.
Carmela bent closer and stared at the man as the screams of multiple sirens rose above the din of the crowd. Something didn't look right to her. And as Shamus gently brushed glitter from the man, his features slowly came into focus.
"That's not the back of his head," Carmela cried out. "The glitter's smeared all over his face! Quick, we have to clear his airway before he's smothered to death!"
Excerpted from "Glitter Bomb"
Copyright © 2018 Laura Childs.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was a Hallmark Mystery Movie meets scrapbooking with a large dose of New Orleans charm. The mystery was engaging, who doesn’t want to know who exploded a glitter bomb? Along the way there are red herrings galore to keep things interesting, a love interest that isn’t the focus of the novel just a nice part of the characters’s life, and a friend who is loyal. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a cozy mystery that keeps things interesting throughout. I can’t wait to read more books in this series and more by Laura Childs in general.
Just as New Orleans scrapbook shopkeeper Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava Gruiex, are gleefully getting into the Mardi Gras festivities, all hell breaks loose when the Pluvius parade’s King Neptune float explodes with a huge plume of glitter. Carmela’s ex-husband Shamus Meechum goes flying and lands practically in front of them, battered and shaken but alive, unlike the captain of the krewe, Hughes Wilder, who’s quite dead . Very soon, evidence points towards a deliberate bombing and Shamus begs Carmela to investigate before he gets arrested by Carmela’s boyfriend, Detective Edgar Babcock. It seems that Shamus has a good motive because he made a dodgy investment with Wilder, CEO of a hedge fund, and used bank funds to do so but there are several other potential suspects. Against her better judgement, and not because she’s overly fond of her philandering ex, Carmela agrees to look into who’s the real Neptune Bomber with Ava’s excited assistance and despite Edgar’s objections (useless, as he well knows from previous investigations) and a pond full of hungry alligators. Scrapbooking tips and delicious recipes help make Glitter Bomb as charming and fun as the earlier books in the series and I’m already counting the days till Carmela’s and Ava’s next adventure.
Who blew up the fabulous Pluvius krewe Mardi Gras float as it steamrolled through the French Quarter, while krewe members tossed purple and gold beads to the screaming crowd? Who blew up Hughes Wilder, CEO of a sleazy hedge fund, along with the float? Most importantly, will Babcock finally come through with the long anticipated engagement ring? The answers will be revealed in Glitter Bomb, along with the solutions to other perplexing problems. Hoghly recommended for all fans of the Laura Childs Scrapbooking series, this title is light on scrapbooking, but still enjoyable. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a free digital copy of this title to review from Net Galley. #glitterbomb#netgalley
This is an entertaining book if you like mysteries that are heavy on the locational charm. You get lots of details and stories about life in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Carmela is a protagonist determined to get to the bottom of things, even at the expense of all else. If you like other books in this series, this one stays true to form.
Exploding from the get go, Glitter Bomb is a blast that keeps the pages turning and the good times rolling. Love both of these authors.
In this installment of the New Orleans Scrapbooking Mysteries, murder during Mardi Gras is colorfully explosive and makes for a great read! Author Laura Childs knows how to pack a punch into a mystery. GLITTER BOMB is exciting, fun, and at times, intense. And I’ve noticed a subtle change in the tone of the stories since author Terrie Farley Moran has come on board. It’s a good change. You can’t go wrong with two fabulous authors writing a book together. Over all, GLITTER BOMB was an excellent mystery with plenty of twists and turns, as well as false leads to keep my inner sleuth guessing all the way to the end. Returning fans of the series are going to love GLITTER BOMB. New readers will enjoy it as well and may become hooked enough to start the series from the beginning. I do offer a profanity warning to cozy mystery purists.
The main motives behind murder are generally money, revenge, love (gone wrong) and desperation. Where does GLITTER come into it? Allow two of the best mystery writers to collaborate and we find out. When she is not running a business and teaching classes at her scrapbooking store, Carmela Bertrand is doing her best not to upset her hopefully-soon-fiance by investigating a murder where her ex-husband is a prime suspect. There was no love lost for the victim and no lack of motives around the local community. There is really no love left for Carmela's ex, either. but her sense of justice and curiosity make it difficult for her to say no. The action begins with a blast right at the start and the pace does not slow. Told with wit and entertaining twists, as the danger to our favorite heroines builds, you'll never see this ending coming! A fantastic series for any crafty person.
This is another fun installment in the scrapbook mystery series. It’s kind of the standard setup: somebody is murdered in a spectacular way, and Carmela is a witness. She starts sniffing around, and Babcock tells her to butt out. There was too much Shamus for my taste, but the Marci Gras backdrop made up for it. This was a fun diversion for a few hours. I received a free ebook ARC from Berkley Crime via NetGalley. This is my honest review.
Laura Child’s Glitter Bomb The Mardi Gras festivities are in full swing. The floats of the Pluvius Parade are progressing down the street when BOOM...the Neptune floats crashes then explodes scattering glitter throughout the crowd plus the covering face of a man who seems to choke on the glitter. The dead body that results from the explosion is Hughes Wilder. This man made bad investments at the expensive of a huge amount of investors’ including many of the krewe members. An accidental death or murder??? Carmela Bertrand who lives in New Orleans owns and runs a very successful scrapbooking and graphic design shop. Carmela along with her best friend, Ava Gruiex were attending the parade. The float fiasco happened in front of them. Carmela’s, ex-husband was a member of the floats krewe. He comes to Carmela when he becomes a suspect in the murder. Carmela has a tendency to get involved in murder investigations. Her fiancé Edgar Babcock who is a homicide detective for the NOPD tells her to stay out of the investigation for her own safety. The story takes the reader into the festive Mardi Gras as we wonder along the streets of New Orleans. You will taste the various New Orlean cuisine, enjoy the costume parties, the music through the authors vivid and fluid description. You will take part in the scrapbook making techniques. The end of the book supplies the reader with recipes, stamping, scrapbooking and craft ideas. The book is filled with suspense, mystery, drama, fast paced scenes, humor and a touch of romance. There is a cast of colorful, vivid, well defined characters who all have their own secrets. Although this is book # 15 in the Scrapbooking Mystery series, I had no problem following the story or the characters as the author mixes the past and present together effortlessly. A Highly Recommended Read. I volunteered to read Glitter Bomb. Thanks to First-To- Read and Penguin for the opportunity. My opinion is my own.
a rollicking roller coaster ride through Mardi Gras GLITTER BOMB by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran The Fifteenth Scrapbooking Mystery Although it's a week before Mardi Gras celebrations and parades have already hit New Orleans and Carmela Bertrand and her bestie Ava are out on the town joining in on the fun. Fun turns to horror when the float with Carmela's ex-husband starts careening wildly and ultimately explodes throwing krewe members into the throng. The lone fatality wasn't the result of an accident, however, it was murder. Carmella's ex is now begging her to investigate while her fiance is begging her to keep out of it. Carmella's too curious and has been through too many murder investigations to stop now. But will her involvement end her engagement? Or her life? GLITTER BOMB is a rollicking roller coaster ride through Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Once again Carmela and Ava have more events to join in than there are drunks on Bourbon Street! From fancy balls and candlelight home tours, to road rallies and more, the duo showcases some of the fun ways to enjoy the city and the holiday. I enjoyed how the relationship between Carmela and Babcock is challenged and lingering feelings between Carmela and Shamus are explored. I also appreciated the mystery and the variety of suspects, all acting suitably suspicious! I like how Memory Mine has grown from a scrapbooking store to encompass even more paper arts and now graphic design. Paper arts tips and recipes add to the charm of this fifteenth Scrapbooking mystery. GLITTER BOMB is a fast paced, fun mystery. Grab it and bring some of the excitement of Mardi Gras and murder home! FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
In this next book of the series Carmela and her friend Ava are enjoying the annual Pluvis Parade when a bomb goes off in the float passing by them. The float happens to be the one Carmela's ex Shamus is riding and she watches as him and several others are thrown from it. She jumps in to see if she can help and discovers that one of the riders didn't make it. Who would blow up a float and why? Was the dead man targeted, or was it that specific float? Shamus new the dead man and asks Carmela to help figure out who killed him, you see Shamus had reasons of his own to want the man dead. The man worked with money and lost millions from several different investors. Did one of the people whose money he lost kill him? Could it have been his wife who is having an affair? Was it just an accident and he wasn't the intended victim? Follow along as Carmela and Ava track down suspects, ask questions, and look for clues. Will they be able to find the answers they are looking for before they end up hurt or dead? This is such a fun series that always delivers a great mystery along with a fascinating location. The crafts included are always top notch and the food mentioned makes you want to immediately dive into some Louisiana cuisine.
Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs is the fifteenth A Scrapbooking Mystery. Carmela Bertrand and Ava Gruiex are watching the Pluvius Parade and are not surprised when they see that Carmela’s ex-husband, Shamus Meechum hitched a ride on the head float. The head float features King Neptune with gold glitter pluming out from his head over the revelers. All the sudden the float starts acting wonky and then—BOOM! An explosion erupted from King Neptune’s head and gold glitter is everywhere as well as the riders of the float. The men start getting up, but one lays unmoving on the ground. Hughes Wilder, the Pluvius Krewe captain, is pronounced dead at the scene and Lt. Edgar Babcock, Carmela’s fiancé (sort of) is on the case (this could be awkward). The next day, Shamus stumbles into Memory Mine seeking Carmela’s help (of course). A bomb had been set in the float right under Hughes Wilder’s seat and Shamus is at the top of the suspect list thanks to an unwise investment. Carmela knows that Shamus does not have the brain power to execute this type of killing. Carmela, with Ava’s eager assistance, begins investigating the other krewe members and investors. They need to proceed carefully, or they could up as confetti on Bourbon Street. Glitter Bomb is part of the delightful A Scrapbooking Mystery series. While Glitter Bomb can be read alone, I highly recommend reading all the books in the series. I have enjoyed watching Carmela develop over the course of the series as she went from divorcee to savvy business owner and sleuth. I still do not know what she saw in Shamus (it is baffling). Carmela is currently engaged to Lt. Edgar Bertrand. I am on the fence about this relationship. I wish he would quit discouraging her investigations. Bertrand should know by now Carmela will always help those in her circle (even Shamus) and she is just plain curious. I love the scrapbooking projects mentioned in the book. There are some creative ideas that I am looking forward to playing with in my studio. I found Glitter Bomb to be well-written with a fast pace. Carmela and Ava are a hoot. I enjoy their witty repartee. Ava and Carmela do not let grass grow under their feet on this investigation. Of course, you can always count on Ava to spice things up. This time Ava promised to house sit for her boyfriend’s parents and committed the pair to appearing in a fashion show. Laura Childs brought the French Quarter during Mardi Gras alive for me with her word imagery. The mystery had several suspects along with a red herring or two and good clues. Cozy mystery sleuths, though, will find it a cinch to identify the guilty party. The ending is exciting, suspenseful, romantic and funny. The last line is amusing which is a great way to end a book. There is a preview of Eggs on Ice at the end along with scrapbooking tips and recipes for New Orleans delicacies. I am giving Glitter Bomb 4.5 out of 5 stars (I loved it). I cannot wait to read Mumbo Jumbo which is the next installment in A Scrapbooking Mystery series.
Scrapbook Mystery # 15 begins with a Mardi Gras float that goes BOOM and rains a glitterstorm upon the surrounding crowd which includes Carmella Bertrand and bestie, Ava Gruiex. Through the shimmering haze they see a body sprawled on the ground. Carmella’s ex-husband, Shamus, was on the float, and he’s okay, however; his krewe captain’s last breath was smothered out with his airway blocked by glitter. Detective Edgar Babcock, Carmella’s love, is fast to the scene, questioning witnesses, and organizing a search for the “Neptune Bomber”. It seems the victim, Hughes Wilder, had made some bad investments with a huge wad of investors’ money, and somebody decided he should pay with his life. Humor-filled scenes with non-stop action make this story a pageturner. Ain’t nobody put a ring on either Carmella or Ava’s fingers so the two bachelorettes continue to party, drink, and enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities while they make their way around the French Quarter snooping, asking questions, and nearly getting themselves blown to smithereens. Ms. Childs and co-author, Ms. Moran, keep the dialogue snappy and the pace fiesty hoping their sleuthing efforts will stamp out one suspect in particular with motive to kill and some detonation skills. The plot in this long-running, fan favorite cozy series sparkles and shines like strands of Mardi Gras beads. The trademark originality from both the writer’s guarantees a genuine keeper for cozy mystery book shelves! Handy Scrapbooking Tips and Delicious Recipes to try follow the story. I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Berkley Publishing. Thank you.