Kiki Lowenstein tackles another mystery

By: 
Jan Jones
Columnist

This week, I selected book 4 in Joanna Campbell Slan’s Kiki Lowenstein series, “Photo, Snap, Shot.” Kiki Lowenstein grew up dirt poor but managed to get a scholarship to study journalism. Within a month she met George Lowenstein, attended a party, got drunk and ended up pregnant. They married and returned to his hometown of St. Louis.

Kiki and baby Anya are introduced to the elite society of her disapproving mother-in-law, Sheila. When George is murdered, Kiki is left with nothing and is forced to accept help from Sheila in the form of funding Anya’s private school education at the Charles and Anne Lindberg Academy (CALA). Anyone who’s anyone is an alum, so it is a win for little Anya.

Kiki’s strong work ethic and natural talents soon endeared her to her boss at Time in a Bottle Scrapbook Shop. She can almost make ends meet by doing dog sitting and a bit of house cleaning for her friend Mert. Kiki longs for financial security and a solid relationship, but has had no luck so far.

In the first book, Detective Chad Detweiller investigated George’s murder, and Kiki fell head over heels for him. She had high hopes until she learned that Detweiller is married. Then she gets a call from CALA. Anya and two friends stumbled upon the body of a teacher, Sissy Gilchrist, and Detweiller is the lead investigator.

His friend Rory Johnson is arrested, but Detweiller is sure he is innocent. To his frustration, the school refuses to cooperate with the police, so Kiki uses her meager insider status to snoop. Between that and having other mothers in her scrapbooking classes, Kiki digs up interesting tidbits on Ladue’s elite.

Using her scrapbooking credentials, Kiki looks into hidden history. She soon finds that one of Ladue’s famous pageants is really a cover for a KKK-like group, and that racism is still rampant in the area. She also learns that mixed-race Rory Johnson was born out of wedlock to one of the pageant queens and given up for adoption. He has just returned and reunited with his white mother, who reveals that Rory and Sissy were in love and she was pregnant with his baby.

Within days of being cleared and released, Rory is dead. Someone tried to make his death look like a suicide. Now Detweiller has two murders to solve and too many potential suspects to count.

After finding warning notes and two close calls while biking. Kiki does her best to be careful but knows she can’t stop investigating until she has answers. The puzzle pieces fall into place when Anya forgets her backpack, again. Oddly, another mother claims to have it and arranges to meet Kiki at a remote golf course. Kiki has walked into a trap.

When the ensuing showdown is over and the murder solved, Kiki is alone in a hospital room where she can mull over all that happened and her future choices. Though two good men want to marry her, Kiki can’t help hoping for a chance with Detweiller. Just before she drifts off, she sees a nurse at the foot of the bed. To her shock, Kiki realizes it is Chad Detweiller’s wife, Brenda. Book 5 could be even more interesting than this one.

Books like these remind us that things and people aren’t always what they appear to be. We never judge a book by its cover – that’s why we count on your public library to have whatever we want to read. Stop by this week and check it out.

AT A GLANCE

Book: “Photo, Snap, Shot” (Kiki Lowenstein, Book 4)

Author: Joanna Campbell Slan

Publisher: Spot On Publishing

Year published: 2010

Number of pages: 312