Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tressed To Kill

Tressed To Kill
Author: Lila Dare
Berkley, 2010
292 pages

Miss me? I mean, you'd think that if I read 10 books last month, I'd read at least one or two by the middle of this month, right? I have some really good excuses. I won't go into them here except to say that I wasted a good 10 days on a book that I couldn't get into (and couldn't finish.) This rarely happens with me. But this review isn't about that book. It's about a really cute book I just finished this afternoon!

Tressed To Kill is the first in a new series of cozy mysteries set in a coastal Georgia (USA) hair salon. (Ironically, I bought the book just a few hours before my most recent hair appointment - not thinking about the correlation, at least consciously!) Main character Grace Terhune is thirty, divorced from her childhood sweetheart, and has recently returned to her hometown after living in Atlanta for a few years. She's working in her Mom's salon. Her Mom, Violetta (for whom the salon is named) is a self-taught cosmetologist who started the business in their home when Grace and her sister were kids. Violetta's may not be the fanciest place in town, but the place has heart. So do the women who work there, including Althea, the aesthetician whose husband mysteriously disappeared many years ago.

Unfortunately for these nice ladies, local rich bi!ch and busybody Constance DuBois comes into the salon one afternoon, without an appointment and demanding a hair color job. Violetta obliges, but when Constance rudely insists on conducting business on her cell phone instead of rinsing at the appropriate time, her hair turns a ghastly orange color. This just gives her one more reason to be upset, and she threatens to have Violetta's unlicensed salon shut down. In the meantime, Constance pi$$es several other people off, including a neighboring shop owner, and a developer from "Morestuff" - a large retail chain hoping to build a store in the area.

That evening, Violetta finds Constance dead, and now everyone thinks Violetta did it. Grace knows her mother could never kill anyone -- even someone as annoying and mean as Constance. But the more she tries to prove it, the more someone wants to stop her. Things get more and more dangerous, and old mysteries will be solved along with new ones.

Tressed To Kill came along at just the right time for me, and it was a joy to read. I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series, but unfortunately, I'm going to have to wait a while. Polished Off won't come out until sometime in 2011!