Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An Uplifting Murder-Elaine Viets

An Uplifting Murder
Elaine Viets
Obsidian, Nov 2 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451231703

She is a mystery shopper who anonymously evaluates a store for services and items sold in the venue. Desiree Lingerie, a company who owns a chain of upscale products wants her to evaluate one of these sales-people in the Plaza Venetia store in West County, as various customers have complained. When Josie Marcus arrives at the store she receives a pleasant surprise when she meets the manager Laura Ferguson who helped her in school when kids were harassing her about what she wore.

After she is through, Josie goes to the bathroom, but a woman in a wheelchair blocks her. The handicapped toilet is closed so Josie crawls under the door to see what is preventing the cubicle from being open. She finds the corpse of Francine who was an ugly person who relished hurting others including Laura, who cost her job she loved. Laura is arrested and Josie promises to find who the real killer though the number of people with viable motives leaves her wondering where to start.

Elaine Viets, author of the Dead End Job mysteries, has another hit amateur sleuth series in the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper tales (see Fashion Hound Murders and Dying in Style). As the star of this series, Josie is self deprecatingly witty, determined, frightened and reckless. Filled with jocularity starting with the title, fans will laugh at the predicaments this mystery shopper finds herself in on the job and sleuthing.

Harriet Klausner

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