Thursday, March 11, 2010

Half-Price Homicide-Elaine Viets

Half-Price Homicide
Elaine Viets
Obsidian, May 2010, $22.95
ISBN: 9780451229892

When the judge awarded Rob half his wife’s earnings for life, Helen Hawthorne refuses to pay this outrageous alimony. She leaves her affluent home in St. Louis and goes on the run until she reaches Fort Lauderdale where she works at a series of dead end jobs. Helen also meets her fiancé private investigator Phil at the apartment complex they both live in. Phil wants to marry her, but before they can Helen must return to St. Louis to fix her legal and financial liabilities.

Meanwhile she works at Snapdragon, a high class consignment shop. One of the repeat customers Chrissy comes in with a purse to sell, but her husband follows her to the shop. They end up in a shouting match; broken up by the store owner. Chrissy enters a dressing room to try on a dress. When the proprietor enters to see how it looks on her, Chrissy is dead. Helen knows the woman was murdered as there is blood on a décor pineapple. When she returns from St. Louis, she is shocked that her employer has lost so many customers and considers closing the shop. With Phil’s help, Helen investigates the homicide hoping to find the killer and keep the store open.

The Dead-End Job mysteries (see Killer Cuts) are always fun to read due to the heroine but Half-Price Homicide is especially a delight as long story arcs are completed and new ones begin; making this a must for series fans. Meanwhile Rob tries to blackmail his ex wife, but she refuses knowing she will return to St. Louis to end the legal travesty. Her time in Missouri is interesting while her sleuthing in Florida is clever as both subplots blend together smoothly in a fascinating major move forward for Helen.

Harriet Klausner

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