Styled for Murder (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries, #17) by Nancy J. Cohen
Published November 16th 2021 by Orange Grove Press
About the Book: A dead body in her mother’s bathroom during a home remodel leads hairstylist Marla Vail to flush out the clues and nail the killer.
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!
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Styled for Murder is the 17th Bad Hair Day Mystery. I have not read them all, but will eventually go back and read them all. Each mystery is self-contained, but the storyline involving Marla’s life and family evolves along the way. In Styled for Murder, Marla’s mother and step-father are having renovations done. When the foreman on the job is found dead in their new shower with one of Reed’s ties around his neck, he becomes the main suspect. Marla’s mom asks her to help by asking questions and doing what she does best by getting people to open up to her. As the story continues, more bodies turn up and Reed looks more and more guilty. Can Marla find the real killer?
I enjoy this series for several reasons. I love seeing Marla in her element. She is a business owner, a new mother, a step-mother, a relatively new wife, a daughter and sister, and each of these roles takes up part of her day to day life. Throw in her sleuthing, and I get tired just reading about it all. Marla is married to Dalton, a police detective who appreciates her talent to suss out information that people may not share with the police. Sometimes I wonder why people share so much, but she is very good at making people feel comfortable. This is an interesting mystery that has a few different components to it. I learned about renovation scams, garlic festivals, copper thefts, and propane and carbon monoxide poisoning. Marla’s family always provide another thread to the stories and this one has her brother and his family dealing with some issues. I will say that the mystery itself had several suspects and I changed my mind a few times about who I thought the culprit was, but I did figure out who it was before the reveal. This did not reduce my enjoyment of the story one bit. Although it seems like there is a lot going on, Nancy J. Cohen does a wonderful job of bringing all these plotlines together for a satisfactory ending. This was another entertaining and enjoyable story that I recommend to those who enjoy a well plotted and written cozy mystery.
Nancy J. Cohen posts to her blog/webpage about her books, adventures, recipes and more. Check it out. Below is an excerpt from one of her posts about her inspiration for this book.
Nearly everyone who has done a home renovation has a tale of woe. It seems nothing can ever go smoothly or finish on time. Hiccups occur along the way that obstruct progress. Meanwhile, homeowners suffer the inconvenience of their bathroom or kitchen being out of order.
We had our bathrooms and kitchen done in our old house where we lived for forty years. I remember the disruption to our lives and the aggravation of dealing with a job manager who had poor communication skills. He would fail to respond to calls or texts, plus he would tell us someone was coming to do the work when nobody showed up. We stayed home for days waiting for plumbers, electricians, tile people, etc. My blood boiled and my helpless rage surged. Things were a mess. How would our house ever be put back together again?
Here’s where the seeds of my latest story were born. I could murder off the foreman in a book. Certainly, he deserved to be fired at the very least, but my solution would be more permanent. I began reading about renovation scams to fuel the story. When a critique partner suggested copper thefts as another angle, I was off to the races! Except this time, it was hairstylist Marla Vail’s mother, Anita, who had the remodeling woes.
When our jobs were done, we were highly satisfied with the results. It could have been an easier process, but things turned out all right. Not so for Marla, whose investigation is about to begin in STYLED FOR MURDER, a Bad Hair Day cozy mystery.
About the Author: Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have been named Best Cozy Mystery by Suspense Magazine, won Readers’ Favorite gold medals and a RONE Award, placed first in the Chanticleer International Book Awards and third in the Arizona Literary Awards.
Her nonfiction titles, Writing the Cozy Mystery and A Bad Hair Day Cookbook, have also garnered numerous awards. These include gold medals in the FAPA President’s Book Awards and the Royal Palm Literary Awards, First Place in the IAN Book of the Year Awards and the Topshelf Magazine Book Awards. Writing the Cozy Mystery was also an Agatha Award Finalist.
Nancy’s imaginative romances have proven popular with fans as well. These books have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews.
Active in the writing community, Nancy is a past president of Florida Romance Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter. When not busy writing, she enjoys cooking, fine dining, cruising, and visiting Disney World. Visit her at NancyJCohen.com
GIVEAWAY Featured on Nancy’s Site: Nov. 1 – 18 to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench