Wash and Die
Kensington, Feb 2008, $22.00
In New Orleans, Charlotte LaRue, owner of Maid for a Day, is unhappy to return home after a hard day of cleaning to see Joyce Thibodeaux waiting for her on her porch. With no place to stay, Joyce, formerly married to Charlotte's tenant Louis Thibodeaux and just out of rehab, begs her to let her stay here for a few days. Against her better judgment as Charlotte knows that Joyce is a lying con artist, she realizes she can not let the woman sleep on the street.
Their arrangement fails to work out as Joyce may be a guest but she keeps her room looking like a pig sty, lies about why a San Francisco inspector wants to speak with her, and steals the gold watch Charlotte inherited from her father. After tossing out Joyce, Charlotte tries to recover the watch that the woman hocked, but the pawn shop proprietor rejects her plea. Frustrated, Charlotte comes home to find her house trashed from an obvious search, Joyce shot to death amidst the mess, her parakeet Sweety Boy gone. Charlotte and Louis discuss possible suspects before she begins her investigation to find her missing bird and a killer. Her snooping almost gets her killed twice by different people who want the dirt to remain unclean.
Readers will admire the sexagenarian business owner who is determined to cleanse her name from the mud that it recently took as much as she also wants her beloved bird back. Yet with her cleaning enterprise, an amateur sleuth investigation and much more, Charlotte welcomes her newborn twin grandchildren with love and tenderness. She is the role model that insists the sixties today are the forties of yesterday. Readers will enjoy this fine thinking person’s cozy as Charlotte escorts the audience around New Orleans in search of cleaning up a murder.