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REVIEW BY RAINBOW REVIEWS
Braided Shame by Louis Briel
TITLE: Braided Shame
AUTHOR: Louis Briel
PUBLISHER: BookSurge Publishing
In Braided Shame a suave college fundraiser scores the big gift only to have his heiress donor turn up dead, and he himself becomes the chief suspect. This cozy whodunit featuring a triangle among gay men is set on a small Southern campus filled with secrets. Braided Shame is about art and life, lies and truth, loneliness and family, treachery and revenge, forgiveness and redemption.
Braided Shame, a first novel by Louis Briel, is billed as a 'cozy whodunit'. Well, it’s a whodunit alright, but with the way the bodies pile up throughout the story, I wouldn't call it cozy.
Mar Donnelly, a college fund raiser, is the prime suspect when his friend and benefactress Ginny Tomlin is found murdered and hanging from a picture hook, taking the place of the Rembrandt that usually hung there. Detective Pinter, investigating the case, feels Mar had the motive ~ several million of them, as he is the main beneficiary in Ginny Tomlin's will which has left him very well off indeed.
Cameron, Ginny's son, and Mar's ex lover is also left a tidy sum, but suffers from the delusion that he and Mar will now marry and live happily, and richly, ever after.
Ginny has also left a large endowment to the college on the condition that her arch enemy, Isabella Verdi, never benefits from the endowment. Add to the mix a conniving principal, a pederast attorney and Isabella's vengeful son, Julius, who was once molested by Cameron, and you have a plot that is, by turn, complicated and fascinating. It seems everyone has some kind of secret hold over everyone else.
The problem I had with Braided Shame was that I couldn't find one character in the entire book I liked or admired. This is not to say the book isn't good ~ it is ~ and as a mystery it follows the tradition of Agatha Christie ~ not a bad thing at all.
The author, Louis Briel is a well known portrait artist, and was a fund raiser, so there is an air of authenticity about the subject matter that surrounds the plot. I just wish that I could have cared a little more for the main characters, but unfortunately they all come across as extremely self-serving and dishonest, especially in their dealings with one another.
The final showdown is a bit over the top, but pretty exciting, and even though I had figured out who the murderer was, the ending has a neat twist that is cleverly written.
Review by Jim