Thursday, February 13, 2020

Madame Koska & the Imperial Brooch, by Ilil Arbel. Open Window, 2015

This is a mystery set in the years after the first World War; it is the first in a series. Madame Koska, supposedly Russian royalty who has fled from the revolution, is opening a couture house. She seems to have money, or money behind her. In the middle of opening the shop and creating a whole new line to display, she gets involved in solving the theft of a brooch that belonged to the Romanovs. No one seems to be who they claim to be, so who is telling the truth, and who has the jewels?

It wasn’t bad for a first in a series; it was short and fluffy but the plot seemed sound. Being a fashion/beading/sewing/vintage nut, I loved the descriptions of the clothing and the work the seamstresses and beaders were doing. There were a lot of characters, though, and they were very lightly touched on and I found myself getting confused as to who was who. I assume that Koska and her crew will get some character development as the series goes on. Most ‘origin stories’ are rather clumsy, being short of depth and an interesting plot, and this book does better than average.

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