Paper Scissors Death by Joanna Campbell Slan

2014 Limelight Reviews
Mystery and Crime

Paper Scissors Death by Joanna Campbell Slan is a debut mystery written recently in 2008 that filtered through the ruse of project scrapbooking which must be a popular hobby in suburban USA.

It is set in a suburb of an affluent St. Louis.

When I began this book — chosen only for the title which perfectly matched the topic set for the SMSA Mystery Reading Group — I shuddered. Wading through the first pages, I initially believed it was going to be a boring American cutsie story about suburban housewives. I was so wrong.

Before long, Kiki the heroine, recently widowed, is confronted with loss of her home, affluence and respectability. Facing up to the challenge of rebuilding her life after the murder of her husband, she is shocked to find mistresses and business treachery which contributes to her poverty and shame.

Through resilience and determination-and the assistance of her brazen former cleaner and eventual close friend-she manages to escape a close call with death and thwart the clutches of her society mother in law who attempts to rip custody of Kiki’s only daughter away from her.

There are comforting bits about how the closeness of pets can really support an individual through struggle, and inspiring bits about women forced to be housewives, find joy and fulfilment in new skill sets through scrapbooking.

In the end, there is a satisfying and redemptive resolution.

Sunny Seagull
SMSA Mystery & Crime Reading Group member