Small southern town with small-town southern charm. A lingerie store that specialises in vintage lingerie. A world travelled aunt and a good looking love interest. A perfect setup. Sadly, the perfect setup is hopelessly marred by really bad plotting and, although to a much lesser degree, stilted writing.
This town the author has created (I know, Paris, TN really does exists, but this Paris is a creation of the author) is great: interesting and fun characters you find yourself liking. But the writing itself comes across stilted and un-natural, and it lacks the flow of authentic conversation a lot of the time. In a really well written book, I don't even notice the 'he said' or 'she said', but I found them really noticeable in this story.
As to the plot, well, as with the first book, I knew the murderer and why from the very first moment possible.
When Jessica first told her 'story' and the murderer denounced it as gossip. And please, Emma sees the cupcake boxes all tied up on the counter in the kitchen, sees the murderer come in as she's leaving the kitchen, and the next thing that happens is the woman comes out of the kitchen with the cupcakes unboxed and on a platter. How Emma missed that one is a mystery for the ages. And the police - no one thinks to ask "who un-boxed the cupcakes and put them on the platter?" "who served them?"
It was just so obvious that the fronting of additional suspects just wore my patience thin and I wanted the book to be over with.
It's a shame, because I really want to like these books - they have all the earmarks of what would normally be fun, enjoyable reads. But unless the plotting gets much more sophisticated, this will be a series I'll have to pass by.