cover image Poppy Harmon Investigates

Poppy Harmon Investigates

Lee Hollis. Kensington, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1388-9

Retired small-screen actress Poppy Harmon, the heroine of Hollis’s hilarious series launch set in California’s Coachella Valley, finds herself broke after the death of her conniving husband, who lost his job and all their money gambling without her knowledge. Regular work is not Poppy’s strength, so she takes inspiration from her old TV show, Jack Colt, PI, and fakes the requirements for her PI license. With Iris and Violet, two fellow residents of the Palm Leaf Retirement Village, she forms the Desert Flowers Detective Agency. After the ladies fail to attract clients, crafty Poppy enlists her daughter’s handsome wannabe-actor boyfriend as the agency’s face. Finally, aging actress Shirley Fox hires them to find her stolen jewels, the search for which leads to the uncovering of scandalous secrets and Poppy’s entanglement in a murder case. Pop culture references throughout add to the fun, and Hollis (Death of a Cookbook Author) wraps up the mystery with a truly surprising twist. Cozy fans will eagerly await the sequel. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Aug.)