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.”
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.
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