Hanging by a Hair, by Nancy J. Cohen. Five Star Publishing. 288 pages. $25.95.
Fans of Ms. Cohen’s “Bad Hair Day” mystery series will be totally satisfied with this latest outing in which, aside from the main story line, readers enjoy the delightful maturation of Marla as she adjusts to her recent marriage to Detective Dalton Vail. Readers have waited to see these characters coupled and tested, and now the test is underway. What happens when Dalton brings his work home to curious, often headstrong Marla – who is used to acting on her own ideas about how a mystery should be investigated?
She has a very good track record, too.
The couple has recently set up housekeeping in a new Broward County community. It’s one of those typical South Florida communities cursed with a rule-bound president of the homeowners’ association and a bunch of nosey residents. Things don’t go well when the enforcer, association president Alan Krabber, breaks the rules and Dalton calls him out on his unacceptable sense of entitlement. Others on the board have mixed feelings about Alan’s behavior.
When the bullying president is found dead in what looks like a suicide hanging, Dalton suspects foul play. Removed from the case because of an obvious conflict of interest, he is smoldering as Marla gets to do her compulsive investigating – in spite of his warnings – while he is assigned to desk work for a while.
Who would have wanted Alan Krabber dead? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that skeletal remains of indigenous Native Americans were found in his back yard excavation that was awaiting the installation of an emergency generator. But what, exactly, is the connection?
A Native American spokesman is making all kinds of noises about protecting sacred places. If there are other such sites in Royal Oaks, further development might have to be stopped. A woman with a professorial stake in Native American history and culture, consulted to authenticate the remains, is found dead soon after. Who’s next? How do these two murders connect? What motives lie behind each killing?
All these questions become very much Marla’s business. Could Alan’s nephew be rushing the payoff of his inheritance? Could a woman whom Alan spurned have decided the ultimate payback? And what about all those boxes that come and go from Alan’s house? What had he been buying – or selling?
How does a woman continue to run her successful beauty salon, find a replacement for a treasured departing employee, build a strong relationship with her new husband’s teenage daughter who lives with them, placate her never-pleased mother, and get ready to host (1) a Passover Seder and (2) an Easter holiday meal?
. . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in April 16, 2014 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the April 17 Bonita Springs, Charlotte County, and Naples editions, Click here: Florida Weekly – Hanging Hair