Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Xtabay Stars in a Murder Mystery

The Xtabay Stars in a Murder Mystery

Really? The Xtabay as a setting for a murder mystery??

That’s right. The Lanvin Murders, named by Amazon as a “Top 10 Hot New Release,” is set in a fictional vintage clothing store, Tallulah’s Closet. The savvy reader will note right away that it’s a thinly veiled Xtabay. I know, because I wrote the novel.

Here’s the premise:

There’s no dressing up murder.
All Portland, Oregon, vintage clothing store owner Joanna Hayworth wants to do is turn her back on the modern world and retreat into a carefully curated life of satin cocktail gowns, icy martinis, and old movies. 
But when Joanna finds a key in a 1930s Lanvin coat cast off by an ex-showgirl, everything changes. The elderly woman turns up dead, and Joanna is pulled into a long-ago drama of backroom deals, blackmail, and lost love. She must find a very real—and present day—killer before she becomes his next victim.

The Lanvin Murders is a mash-up of Portlandia and Agatha Christie, with Auntie Mame’s wardrobe tossed in. The novel has all the best parts of the Xtabay, including gorgeous dresses, stylish customers, and a firm love of retro glamour. Then it adds a dead stripper, drag queen, Native American land grab, and police detective with a predilection for cowboy boots. The novel leads the reader through Portland landmarks—some of which have now closed—including the Velveteria, Poor Richard’s Almanack Room, the Reel M’Inn, Dot’s CafĂ©, and Mary’s Club.

As a freelance writer, I’ve worked a patchwork of jobs, including a very enjoyable stint at the Xtabay (I can still put together an outfit that will make you look like you stepped from the screen of a George Cukor film). Add in my ten years as a congressional investigator, and writing murder mysteries was a natural.

The Lanvin Murders is the first in a series of Vintage Clothing Mysteries, all including a helping of my beloved Xtabay. Next up is Dior or Die, to be released this fall. I hope you’ll pick up a copy to take on vacation or enjoy in the bathtub.

The Lanvin Murders by Angela M. Sanders (Widow’s Kiss Books) is $12.95 for a trade paperback and is for sale at the Xtabay, soon at Powell’s, or for order at any bookstore. An e-book is $3.99 on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Also, don’t miss my monthly newsletter filled with the sorts of things the novel's heroine likes. Past newsletters have included old cocktail recipes, dating advice from Zsa Zsa Gabor, profiles of women pulp detective novelists, a drag queen’s makeup tips, and more. You can sign up for it here.

Thank you, and let me know what you think! You can reach me at

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