Styled for Murder
Hairstylist Marla Vail flushes out a killer when murder disrupts her mother’s home renovation plans in this stylish cozy mystery.
When hairstylist and savvy sleuth, Marla Vail, gets a frantic call from her mother that there’s a dead body in her shower, Marla realizes this wasn’t part of the home renovation plans. The victim turns out to be the project manager, who had an untrustworthy reputation in town. Disgruntled customers, unpaid suppliers, and the design company’s staff are among the suspects. Which one of them wanted the foreman to pipe down about their shady dealings?
Meanwhile, the lead investigator sets his sights on Marla’s stepfather, Reed, who’s keeping secrets from his family. Reed has a past connection to the victim and won’t come clean about what he knows. As Marla drills deeper, she’s showered with suspicions, but nobody’s willing to leak any information. She needs to hammer down the prospects, or time will drain away and the murderer will strike again.
To flush out the culprit, Marla taps into her pipeline of resources. Can she assemble the clues and demolish the alibis to nail a killer? Or has someone designed the perfect murder? Recipes Included!
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Reviewed by Barbara Oliverio for Readers' Favorite
Marla Vail is blissfully enjoying being a new mother and thinks that her days of chasing clues instead of managing feeding schedules are behind her in Nancy J. Cohen’s latest cozy mystery, Styled for Murder. The universe has other plans for the amateur sleuth when her mother calls her in a panic. It seems that the project manager overseeing the remodel of her mom’s bathroom was found dead – colder than the stylish floor tiles. All it takes for Marla to stretch her investigative muscles is the notion that her stepfather is the prime suspect. She manages to collect clues that lead her to other suspects (including the dead guy’s employer, other subcontractors, and even a former beauty queen) while getting advice from her police detective husband. All the while, she manages to juggle her regular duties as a mom and salon owner.
Styled for Murder is the latest in Nancy J. Cohen’s cozy murder mystery series, but works effectively as a standalone offering. Intrepid Marla is no-nonsense but has an open personality that encourages those she questions into revealing just a bit more than they probably intended. The author takes an entertaining path to the big reveal and manages to throw in just enough deceptive clues to keep the reader second-guessing. I appreciated the Florida setting and how Cohen made the suspects more than just one-dimensional distractions on the journey to the discovery of the real murderer. Cohen fans and those sure to become her fans will love this whodunit.