Dipped, Stripped, and Dead
Berkley, Oct 2009, $6.99
Candyce "Dyce" Dare had a real short marriage which she ended when her husband slapped her. They have joint custody of their son Enoch, nicknamed E. However, her income is low, but she fears asking her husband for support because she believes he will go to court to demand full custody of the little E.
Her new business Daring Finds, a furniture refinishing firm, has not brought in enough money as expected of a new entity. Her inventory is cheap she finds pieces on sidewalks, yard sales and dumpsters. One day whole doing the dumpster dive, Dyce finds a table she believes could prove valuable; however, the corpse filled with lye sharing the dumpster with the table could prove distracting. Soon afterward, her apartment is vandalized with epithets painted on her door. Dyce thinks the perp has a key to her place. On a walk, she finds another body that was soaked in lye in her garage. Both her best friend Ben and the lead detective want Dyce to stop sleuthing. He warns her to stop interfering with his official inquiry, but Dyce fears jail time as she is his number one suspect so Dyce keeps on investigating not quite understanding her tenacity could leaved her diced with lye.
Elise Hyatt is a welcome addition to the lighthearted amateur sleuth sub-genre due to an enjoyable absorbing whodunit. Her heroine is 200-proof spunk as she has an amusing out of time but charming way at looking at life; if she lived in the 1950s she would have been On the Road with Kerouac and Cassidy and spouting poetry with Ginsburg and the beat generation over Moon River. Still with all this capriciousness, she is a fully doting mom raising her son. The support cast is solid especially Big Ben who feels responsible for Holly-go-Lightly and the little E.