Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sunday Salon - Monster in Miniature by Margaret Grace

Geraldine Porter's hobby as a miniaturist has involved her in murder investigations in the past, but a current case is a little too close to home. Margaret Grace's Monster in Miniature takes Geraldine into her late husband's past.

Geraldine's beloved granddaughter, Maddie, is visiting just before Halloween, and they're working on a multi-story haunted dollhouse. Their excursion to a local street, famous for Halloween decorations, will leave Geraldine haunted for a long time. She and Maddie are checking out the Ferguson's exhibit, when teenagers discover the scarecrow on the porch is a dead man, not the expected scarecrow. As a former schoolteacher, and aunt of a homicide detective, Geraldine gathers the teens as witnesses, never expecting she'll be sucked deeper into the case. Eleven-year-old Maddie, on the other hand, is thrilled to be once more on "The Case" with her beloved grandmother and Uncle Skip.

If the dead man was going to be a witness against a big developer, why is Ken Porter's name on a list found in his possessions? Gerry knows her husband wasn't corrupt, but she begins to doubt if she ever knew the man when she finds personal items in the boxes in the garage. Now, she doesn't know if she cares about this case because a man is dead, or because it threatens the memory of her husband.

Monster in Miniature is an excellent example of a cozy mystery that works with an amateur sleuth. How would you feel if your husband's memory was threatened, if everything you knew about him might be false? Would you do a little sleuthing on your own? Geraldine Porter has capable help, with a homicide detective as a nephew, a computer whiz kid for a granddaughter, and a patient new friend in Henry Taylor. Margaret Grace's series continues to be delightful, both in the mystery itself, and the miniature craft.

Margaret Grace's website is

Monster in Miniature by Margaret Grace. Penguin Group(USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780425233900 (paperback), 304p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book from the publisher, in hopes I would review it. I won the miniature in a contest on Margaret Grace's website.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I enjoy mysteries where the characters find out there might be more to someone they loved then they knew! Secrets are always fun. :) It sounds like these might be *false* secrets, but--like you mentioned--that's excellent motivation for a sleuth to investigate!

And dollhouses have always fascinated me!

Lesa said...

Secrets are fascinating, Elizabeth. Scary to find out you might not know everything about someone you spent over 30 years with.

Some of the early mysteries I read involved dollhouses, so I have fond memories of them. And, I love my miniature murder scene.

caryn said...

I really enjoy this series though I am now 2 books behind in it. Grace does such a good job of making the protag believable.
And I love your crime scene! She does a fabulous job on those too!
Caryn in St.Louis

Lesa said...

I'd love to see your miniature scene, Caryn. Is it a crime scene? What's included?

Margaret Grace does do an excellent job making Geraldine believable. And, she does something that was talked about on DL today - dithers and does other stuff instead of investigating because she doesn't want to know the truth. And, the comment today said people do that in times of crisis. So, very realistic!

cindy.maher said...

That is too cool! What's it made of Lesa?

Lesa said...

Well, I can't tell you what it's made of, Cindy. The couch and matching pillow are very soft material. I'm sure she shrunk book jackets, and made the books from paper. But, I have no idea how a gifted miniaturist makes these things.

cindy.maher said...

So it's not clay?

Book Bird Dog said...

Sounds like a nice cozy. Family secrets are always interesting! Here's
My Sunday Salon

bermudaonion said...

I love the miniature murder scene! What fun!

Camille Minichino said...

Well, this is a first! I've never seen a miniature of mine in a video! Thanks so much, Lesa!

Caution: I'm about to bore you with how-to! The hat is made of crafting clay. It couldn't be easier: roll out softened clay into a circle, then "lay" it over your thumb. The clay falls naturally into the floppy hat form. BAKE it in a toaster over for about 20 minutes and you have it. Paint and decorate as desired.

The blue "afghan" is simply crocheted with embroidery thread.

I'll end here -- but I did get excited to explain when I saw the video!

Camille/Margaret Grace

Kay said...

Lesa, first of all, the miniature is really wonderful. How incredibly creative and so very suited to you personally. Not that you're a murderer or contemplating murder, but you know what I mean!!

Second, I have got to start reading this series. My word, there are just too many, but it has been on my list for quite a while. I love the idea of dollhouses. I remember reading THE DOLLHOUSE MURDERS with my daughter when she was in elementary school and then we went to the craft store and looked at dollhouses. She had a one for a long time.

Lesa said...


Thank you for telling everyone how you made the hat. Doesn't your miniature scene look nice? It could have been in focus a little more, but I was trying to get close enough so people could see the details.

Thank you, again!

Lesa said...

So many series, so little time, Kay, as you and I keep saying. And, I'm a big fan of mystery series. I like to continue with the characters and get to know them. I think you'll like this one when you get around to it.