Shear Murder, by Nancy J. Cohen. Five Star. 246 pages. $25.95.
Nancy J. Cohen extends her “Bad Hair Day” mystery series with this latest entry in which Marla Shore, beauty parlor owner and expert hairdresser, once again has trouble find her. And once again, Marla cannot resist taking a lead role in solving the crime.
It all begins at a wedding. One of Marla’s best friends, Jill Barlow, is marrying Arnie, owner of Bagel Busters, a business located near Marla’s. Everyone at the wedding reception is in a celebratory mood until Jill’s sister Torrie is discovered under the cake table with a knife plunged into her chest. Need you ask who made the discovery?
Fortunately, Marla’s fiancé – homicide detective Dalton Vail – is with her and keeps things under control until other policemen show up to begin the investigation. The shock of such an experience threatens to overload Marla, who has several other matters to juggle. These include the final arrangements for her own upcoming marriage, handling the bickering relatives, and expanding her business. There is also a new house awaiting Marla and Dalton that requires a lot of frenzied attention. A great planner and manager, Marla tries to hold everything together while dealing with the irresistible lure of investigating the death of her friend’s sister.
Torrie, who is the fashion reporter for a local lifestyle magazine, has made some enemies. She is one of two women carrying on with the magazine’s photographer, Griff Beasley. Does Hally Leeds, the society columnist, want Torrie out of the way? Is Scott Miller, Torrie’s husband, fed up with her cheating? Is the photographer making a rather blunt choice between the two women? Was Hally jealous enough to murder Torrie? Well, no, because Hally turns up dead soon after. Was there something Griff wanted to hide that both women had discovered?
And what about Jill? The two sisters seem to have been bickering about how to handle a piece of commercial property that they inherited. Torrie’s death could resolve that disagreement in a hurry. Also, Torrie may have had some secret to hold over Jill’s head – something about Jill’s past.
Marla, in her straight-ahead manner, asks the questions that push the investigation along. She does such a good job that someone sets fire to her hair salon! Is she getting too close to the truth?
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To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the February 8, 2012 Fort Myers edition of Florida Weekly and in the February 9 Naples edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Nancy J. Cohen pdf