Tag Archives: Deborah Sharp

Comic mystery blends shady mayor, bondage buddies, and bossy mama

Mama Gets Trashed, by Deborah Sharp. Midnight Ink. 341 pages. $14.99.

With her fifth “Mace Bauer Mystery,” Deborah Sharp has raised the bar for her unique blend of suspense and laughter. When readers find Mace and Mama searching for lost jewelry in the town dump, we know that the sparks are going to fly. It’s Mama’s wedding ring that was accidentally dropped into the garbage back home, and now we get a kind of archeological dig of central Florida culture – including “a week’s worth of leftovers from Jimbob’s Seafood Shack.” Mama Gets Trashed

While Mama does happen to find her diamond, Mace finds something else: the corpse of a suggestively clad young woman whose garb includes a black leather dog collar with silver spikes. This bondage fetish fashion is not the usual get-up in Himmarshee, the fictional but familiar small southern town in which the Mace Bauer mystery stories are set.

Ms. Sharp’s fans know that Mace will have a hard time keeping her nose out of the investigation, and that her talented meddling will outrage her fiancé, Carlos Martinez, the hunky homicide detective who will do everything to keep Mace out of trouble and to protect the professionalism of the investigation.

Inevitably, Mace and Mama will be drawn further and further in. Furthermore, Mace will pursue another, possibly related mystery – the disappearance of her brother-in-law, Kenny. The timing is terrible, as Kenny’s wife Maddie is planning a big birthday party for him.

Deborah Sharp

Deborah Sharp

Has sister Maddie’s vanished husband been fooling around with sexy Camilla, the deceased librarian found dead at the dump? Could he possibly be the murderer? There are plenty of hints that Kenny has been unfaithful.

Conversation about these occurrences – let’s call it gossip – soon occupies the town, especially in social settings like the Hair Today Dyed Tomorrow salon where pastel fashion plate Mama is a hair-coloring specialist.  Revealing discussions and activities also take place at the Himmarshee Links Country Club and its bar, The Nineteenth Hole, where characters like golf pro Jason and bartender Angel (both, of course, immensely attractive and immensely self-absorbed) behave somewhat suspiciously.

So, in fact, does the new mayor of Himmarshee and his bossy wife. Not only is it rumored that they are active in the sexual fetish capers, but the mayor also seems to be encouraging outside investors to tie up land for development adjacent to Himmarshee’s idyllic nature park. Is he on the take? Is the park, where Mace works, in jeopardy? . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the October 16, 2013 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the October 17 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, and the November 7 Palm Beach/West Palm Beach edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Sharp

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Deborah Sharp’s “Mama” Marries Mayhem

“Mama Gets Hitched” by Deborah Sharp. Midnight Ink. 328 pages. $14.95.

As the curtain rises on the third installment of the Mace Bauer Mystery series, Mace’s mother, Rosalee, is doing a bridezilla number as she prepares for her fifth trip down the aisle. Along the way, she is driving Mace and her other daughters, scolding schoolmarm Maddie and sweetness Marty, bonkers. Her over-the-top wedding theme of Southern Belle pastel is truly garish, at least to Mace who is a plain clothes, tomboyish kind of gal. All are in a frenzy of preparation for the big day when suddenly Ronnie, the caterer, is found murdered.

Will murder in Himmarshee (Sharp’s version of Okeechobie, Florida) ruin Rosalee’s wedding? That question looms larger to some than that of whether the murderer will be brought to justice.

The crime throws Mace back into contact with her sometimes beau, Carlos Martinez, a Cuban-born Himmarshee policeman. As much as they care for each other, Mace and Carlos have had their misunderstandings, and they continue to annoy each other through much of this novel, providing grand opportunities for making up. However, the pinnacle of bickering is not between Mace and Carlos, but rather among the sisters and Rosalee. A good deal of the fun in Deborah Sharp’s series comes from her uproarious delineation of how family members who truly care about one another cannot avoid finding endless sources of conflict. The author’s dialogue of dispute, humiliation, and payback is high comedy, southern style.

To read the full review, as it appears in the July21-27, 2010 issue of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the July 22-28 issue of the Naples Florida Weekly, click here: Florida Weekly – Deborah Sharp (2)

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Deborah Sharp’s “Mama” Almost Knows Best

Mama Rides Shotgun, by Deborah Sharp. Midnight Ink. 324 pages. $14.95.

Deborah Sharp, former reporter for the Fort Myers News-Press and USA Today, is one of those  intriguing Florida mystery writers who make us laugh out loud while we’re reading. In Mama Rides Shotgun, the second title in the projected 3-part “Mace Bauer Mystery” series, Sharp enhances her key characters. Mace, the narrator, is an amateur sleuth whom danger will find. Self-reliant to a fault, her love life is troubled by her sense of being patronized, even by well-meaning men. She’d rather do it herself. Her mother – oft-married and gossipy Rosalee – will constantly and loudly offer unwanted advice about this problem, and Mama gets involved in the mystery plot as well. The family quartet that also includes Mace’s sisters – Marty and Maddie – provides hilarious hi-jinks and sublime sibling rivalry.

MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN

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To read the rest of this review in its entirety, as it appeared in the Naples Florida Weekly for August 5-11, 2009, click here:

Florida Weekly – Deborah Sharp

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