I have enjoyed many of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries and enjoy the opportunity to read each book as it comes out. I also follow Nancy J. Cohen’s blog and have been waiting for her new release. I was pleased to participate in the blog tour of Star Tanged Murder and share a guest post as well as a review with you. Scroll down to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of the book and some tea.

Star Tangled Murder (Bad Hair Day Mysteries #18) by Nancy J Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press (March 14, 2023)
Cozy Mystery, Set in Florida

Hairstylist Marla Vail and her husband get tangled up in murder when their Fourth of July visit to a living history village ends with a bang—and a body.

Salon owner Marla Vail and her detective husband Dalton are having a blast visiting a Florida living history village over Fourth of July weekend. But when a Seminole battle reenactment turns up a real dead body, it sets off fireworks among the villagers. One of the cast members has gone off script to murder the town marshal with a tomahawk in his head.

As Dalton gets involved in the investigation, Marla determines to help him solve the case. Her flare for uncovering secrets reveals that everyone in the village is a suspect. Instead of celebrating the holiday with red, white, and barbecues, she discovers secrets, lies, and false avenues. Did the marshal’s murder have anything to do with a lost Confederate payroll, or did his plans to renovate the park light a fuse that he couldn’t snuff out?

In a place where history comes alive, the dead bodies are piling up. Marla would rather be chilling and grilling, but somebody’s mind is on killing. If she’s not careful, her sleuthing might blow up in her face like a faulty firecracker and she’ll become the next victim. Recipes Included!

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In Star Tangled Murder, Marla and Dalton are enjoying a visit to Florida’s living history village during the Fourth of July weekend. Dalton is excited about watching a reenactment of a battle during the second Seminole Wars, while Marla wants to go to a book signing and visit the various historic buildings. Just after the reenactment there is a scream and when Marla and Dalton race to the sight, they find a dead body. The “town marshal” has been murdered and Dalton steps forward to help in the investigation. Marla loves to investigate as well, and also jumps in to help by doing her own questioning of the various actors. It seems people will say things to Marla, they won’t tell the police. Can Marla and Dalton find out who the murderer is?

I enjoy the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. I find they are realistic, this one set at an actual place in Florida that I know the author has visited. She uses the knowledge she gained at that visit as well as research to make it feel like I was there. Her characters are always well developed and there are multiple suspects. During the investigation it seems there are a lot of people with secrets and motives. When a second death occurs they know they must figure out who the killer is before anyone else ends up dead. Although police usually don’t want the help of amateurs, Dalton welcomes Marla’s input and they talk things out together, often helping put the pieces together. He does make sure to warn her off if the investigation gets too dangerous. Marla takes care to have someone with her when she investigates and in this story her friend Susan uses her cover as a reporter for a women’s magazine to help in the questioning. There is always a look at Marla’s homelife and this story includes Dalton’s upcoming retirement, as well as Brianna’s last days home before heading off to college. This makes Marla more relatable. Overall, this is a well written and plotted mystery, with plenty of suspects and motives to keep anyone guessing. I thought I had it figured out, but kept changing my mind as more information came out. The heartwarming wrap-up of the story left me content and cheering on the upcoming changes in Marla and Dalton’s lives. If you enjoy a good cozy mystery with a great setting and enjoyable characters, I recommend you pick this one up.

 BUY LINKS: Amazon Kindle – Amazon Print – Apple Books – BN Nook – BN Print – Google Play – Kobo – Books2Read – IndieBound – Smashwords – Goodreads – BookBub

GUEST POST: Corn and Crime by Nancy J. Cohen

Corn, beans, and squash were staples of the native diet when pioneers settled in this country. In those days, corn provided a popular drink called sofkee for Native Americans. My hairstylist sleuth, Marla Vail, gets to taste this concoction when she visits a living history village in Star Tangled Murder. Her first visit there didn’t go so well. Marla and her detective husband, Dalton,
attended a battle reenactment that turned up a real dead body. Somebody had murdered the town marshal with a tomahawk.

Marla returns to interview the various cast members. Here’s where I had fun creating the suspects. An amateur sleuth, a whodunit puzzle to solve, and a group of suspects in a confined setting are the main ingredients for a cozy mystery. In this case, all the players at my fictional Pioneer Village had a reason to want the marshal out of the way. Among others, this included the blacksmith, shopkeeper, baker, schoolteacher, preacher and Native American shaman. I watched videos online to set the scene at each location. This was easy since I’d visited Yesteryear Village in West Palm Beach and taken my own photos there, too.

Marla is particularly interested in the farmer’s herb garden in this story. The baker and the shaman’s wife give cooking demonstrations at the village. It’s likely they both use herbs in their recipes. The shaman and the shopkeeper—a pharmacist who aspires to run an apothecary—may also use them for healing potions. And after a second victim is poisoned, this plot of land
becomes even more important.

Marla and her friend Susan visit the farm and chat with the farmer. Simon is a taciturn fellow
who refuses to show them his herb garden. However, he isn’t reticent when it comes to describing his corn crop. Here’s a brief excerpt followed by an easy recipe for corn casserole.

“Are you aware Florida accounts for twenty percent of the nation’s fresh market sweet corn?” Simon told her. “We plant the crop from August through April. You need at least four rows for pollination to take place.”

“How do you know when an ear is ready to be picked?” Marla asked, wondering if Dalton would want to grow corn in his vegetable garden.

“The silks turn brown. After you buy corn at the marketplace, don’t let it sit too long in your kitchen. You’ll want to eat the ears as soon as possible, or the sugar will convert into carbs.”

“Good to know,” Marla said with a nod. “I cook it in the husk in the microwave for four minutes then slice off the ends. The husk peels right off.”

“Oh, cool,” Susan said. “I’ll have to try that method. We usually boil ours.”

“Sweet corn has more sugar than field corn, which is grown for livestock consumption,” Simon added, tucking his thumbs into his pockets.

“I understand Phil wanted to establish a restaurant,” Marla said. “You could have supplied fresh vegetables from your farm. A sit-down café would enhance the park and encourage visitors to stay longer.”

“We don’t need to expand. Then more people might come by to see the crops. Guests can stick to the petting zoo and not bother me about my plants.”

“What about your herb garden? Where is this patch of land, anyway? My husband is into gardening. Maybe I can get him interested in growing herbs for my kitchen.”

A muscle twitched in Simon’s jaw. “Our herb garden is private. Nobody goes there.”

His tone had turned hostile, same as the gleam in his eyes. Why would he work at a living history museum as part of the attraction if he didn’t want visitors?

Corn is still a popular commodity, especially when fresh ears are for sale at farmer’s markets. I like getting Florida corn during growing season here. I’ll cook it via the microwave method above. Here’s my corn casserole recipe. What’s your favorite corn dish, aside from eating it whole?

14 ¾ oz. can creamed corn
15 oz. can corn kernels with liquid
½ lb. (1 stick) butter, softened
8 oz. reduced-fat sour cream
2 eggs, slightly beaten
8 oz. box corn muffin mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spray a 2-quart baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Add mixture. Bake for 1 hour or until set and golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Click to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Star Tangled Murder & a box of White Tea.

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 the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and the 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 won the FAPA President’s Book Award, the Royal Palm Literary Award, and IAN Book of the Year. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys reading, fine dining, cruising, and visiting Disney World.

Author Links: Website – Blog – Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn – Instagram – BookBub – Pinterest – Goodreads – YouTube


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