cover image Half-Price Homicide: A Dead-End Job Mystery

Half-Price Homicide: A Dead-End Job Mystery

Elaine Viets, . . NAL/Obsidian, $22.95 (261pp) ISBN 978-0-451-22989-2

A posh Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resale shop provides the snazzy scene of the crime in Viets's superior ninth mystery starring Helen Hawthorne, the queen of dead-end jobs and magnet for murder (after 2009's Killer Cuts ). Helen and Vera Salinda, the owner of Snapdragon's Second Thoughts, are shocked when Chrissy Martlet, a wealthy developer's sexy trophy wife, is found fatally bonked on the head with a Limoges pineapple, then hung with a Gucci scarf after trying to sell Vera some of her designer goods. Identifying Chrissy's killer as well as the culprit who bashes in the head of a model friend with a beer bottle tests Helen's sleuthing abilities to the limit. A teasing plot twist serves up a reminder that even if her greedy ex-husband, Rob, might finally stop pestering her and better jobs appear, there are still mountains to climb before Helen can rest easy with Phil, her PI honey. Viets doesn't waste a word in this tight, fast-paced installment as she deftly balances comedy and tragedy. (May)