Designs on Ivy's Locket

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
280 Pages
Reviewed on 07/15/2017
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Award-winning author Connie Chappell timed her second Wrenn Grayson mystery, Designs on Ivy’s Locket, to take place between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, a period, each year, which haunts historian-for-hire Wrenn Grayson. At six, she was abandoned by her parents and left in the care of a grandmother.

Wrenn forms an allegiance with renowned jeweler Dexter St. John after she reads entries from his tattered journal, written in 1946. They tell of his creation of three lockets, the essence of which he thought of as daughters.

One entry reads: “Only Ivy’s locket was taken. Her loss has shaken me to my soul. After all, it means the loss of a daughter I have loved, but never known. I’d thought about her and imagined her, certain she’d be part of my life forever. She’d been given a name. She was frail, delicate, and precious. In her heart was a place for wishes and dreams and, perhaps, her daddy’s picture for a time.”

As Wrenn was left behind, Dexter must walk away from the tiny crossroads of Wyatt, Ohio, and leave Ivy behind.

Wrenn’s situation is further complicated by astounding likenesses between Dexter’s great-grandson Kerry, who wants to reopen this cold case, and Wrenn’s estranged father.

In Designs on Ivy’s Locket, Connie Chappell focuses on the theme of parents and children, separated by death, by theft, and by design.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Designs on Ivy's Locket by Connie Chappell is a spellbinding story that explores an unusual investigation. When Kerry St. John hires historian Wrenn Grayson, he wants to uncover the whereabouts of a precious piece of jewelry that was stolen from his grandfather, Dexter St. John. The valuable locket is discovered in the possessions of a dead woman and her daughter, Lori Hammond, refuses to hand it over to the St. John family. The historian and investigator will have to follow clues left in the dead grandfather’s journal and dig into the family’s history to uncover truths about the precious locket. But there is a wonderful twist in the story which I won’t divulge as it would spoil the excitement.

Here is a story that combines investigation with a family saga to offer awesome entertainment for readers. I enjoyed the journal entries of Dexter St. John, which paint a wonderful picture of the setting. Wrenn Grayson is a character that readers will remember, a woman with great investigative skills. Connie Chappell has a superb gift for plot and character and it is interesting to see how the author develops both elements in the story, heaping up surprises for readers. One of the things that immediately caught my attention was the narrative voice; it is clear and utterly compelling. The prose leap off the pages with wonderful insights and lyricism. I was pulled in from the very beginning of the story and the humorous, dramatic way the protagonist meets her client. Designs on Ivy's Locket combines humor, intense action, and great storytelling skills to offer readers lovely entertainment. This is a fun and delightful story that will entice readers all the way to its satisfying conclusion.

Trudi LoPreto

A stolen locket, a town that no longer exists, and a cold case waiting to be solved is the basis for Designs on Ivy’s Locket. Wrenn Grayson is the sleuth and town historian who has taken on the case of the necklace that has been missing since 1946. Kerry St. John is the client who desperately wants to find answers that left his great-grandfather wondering right up to his death. Lori Hammond is now in possession of Ivy’s locket, which has become a very expensive and valuable piece. Kerry hires Wrenn to study and investigate the events that occurred when, so many years ago, his grandfather traveled through Wyatt, Ohio. Wrenn happily takes on the case, using an old journal, old town records, and talking to surviving members of the families involved. Lori has refused to return the locket, but shows up in town and also wants to find answers. Wrenn, Kerry and Lori are threatened, family secrets are revealed, and twists and turns abound until the unexpected conclusion of the story.

I was late for several appointments because I just wanted to read a little further and see what would happen next. The suspense and excitement never end and the results kept me guessing, as I never saw the answer until it was revealed at the very end. Author Connie Chappell has done a great job with Designs on Ivy’s Locket, making it everything a mystery/sleuth story should be and more. This is a great read and should be added to your summer reading list immediately. I loved this book.

Arya Fomonyuy

Designs on Ivy's Locket by Connie Chappell is a wonderful tale that looks at powerful themes — family, theft, separation, and death — and a gritty investigation to uncover the truth about a locket. Meet Wrenn Grayson, a historian-for-hire, who takes on a job from Kerry St. John. Kerry’s grandfather, Dexter St. John, had suffered much because of the theft of a treasured locket. Wrenn will have to go through his detailed and riveting journal to follow clues left by the old man to uncover the whereabouts of the locket, but things change when the stolen locket is discovered in the possessions of Lori Hammond’s dead mother. Lori refuses to hand over the locket. Now Wrenn must follow history to uncover the truth. Get ready for a thrilling ride and for surprises you won’t imagine could be on the way.

Connie Chappell’s novel features a sleuth that readers will enjoy following in a story with a beautiful and sophisticated plot. The setting is in 1946, and both the historical and social elements of the setting are brilliantly depicted in the story. For instance, listen to how Dexter captures the town in his journal: “Wyatt is an angry town, fighting an unknown foe, its people being eaten alive from within. The tragedy of Wyatt has fallen upon the young. I could see it in the eyes of the seven year old as he cradled his brother’s sleeping form. The same thought I had then haunts me now: He held death in his arms.” The characters are compelling and readers will be keen to see what they become. Designs on Ivy's Locket is a detective story that will compel readers to turn the pages, thanks to the beauty of the prose, the sophisticated characters, and the gripping plot lines.