Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Polished Off by Lila Dare

St. Elizabeth, Georgia, offers charm, Southern hospitality - and an occasional dollop of mayhem.  Now, hairdresser Grace Terhune has to save a beauty pageant that's fallen viceim to the ugliness of murder...

Little Miss Murderous

It's business as usual at Violetta's salon, until Audrey Faye sashays in looking for stylists for the Miss Magnolia Blossom pageant.  Grace jumps at the opportuinty, but on her first day she finds a theater full of anti-pageant protestors, angry mothers, frantic contestants, and an aloof Audrey.  Even Violetta's manicurist, Stella, is acting strangely. 

Then, during the talent portion, protestors storm the stage - and Audrey Faye is found dead, murdered with a nail file.  It turns out Audrey was having an affair with Stella's husband, which makes Stella a prime suspect.  Now, Grace and Violetta's beauticians must find the real murdered before Stella is polished off permanently...

Grace Terhune has stepped in it again, and by "it," I mean murder.  Or perhaps she just has an aura that attracts dead bodies.  I don't exactly know, but whatever it is, it makes Polished Off a quick and entertaining read. 

Ms. Dare has the ability to add a little bit of everything to this mystery: twists and turns, romance, suspense, as well as the commonality of Grace and the citizens of St. Elizabeth, Georgia.  This could be your town, your neighbors.  Then again, if the bodies began piling up in my town, I'd be inclined to move.  Grace, however, never thinks in those terms.  She wants to help Stella -- as she wanted to clear her mother's name in Tressed to Kill -- so she immediately goes to work.  And let me say that dead bodies do not impact Grace's ability to do good hair or be an amateur sleuth. 

Polished Off picks up immediately where Tressed to Kill ends, and Ms. Dare delivers another jam-packed ride.  I cannot wait to see what will happen to Grace next.

(A very special thank you to Berkley Prime Crime who provided me with an ARC of Polished Off.)

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