Berkley, Feb 1 2011, $7.99
In St. Elizabeth, Georgia, Audrey Faye arrives at Violetta’s Beauty Salon asking for owner Violetta Terhune. Audrey explains that her friend Simone Dubois, who during the summer accused Violetta of murdering her mom (see Tressed to Kill), suggested the beauty salon help prepare the contestants of the Miss Magnolia Blossom pageant. Violetta’s daughter Grace the hairdresser agrees for $300 a shot while manicurist Stella reluctantly acquiesces to help.
The gig turns nasty even before the hairdresser begins as ant-pageant protesters accost anyone involved. The gig turns even uglier when someone murders Audrey using Stella’s nail file. Besides being the owner of the murder weapon, Stella has a motive for murdering the pageant’s director. Audrey and Stella’s husband were having an affair. As the show goes on and other incidents occur, Grace investigates the homicide and the rash of accidents while a killer watches her.
This is a terrific amateur sleuth Southern Beauty Shop whodunit as the inquiry is stymied by protestors, contestants and incidents. The fast-paced whodunit grips the audience who race to solve the case before the Amazing Grace can. This is a winning Georgia peach mystery.