Cohen, Nancy

Bad Hair Day Mysteries - Chick-lit

Permed to Death Permed to Death (1999)
From Library Journal
When a rather nasty woman dies of poisoning in Marla Shore's Palm Harbor beauty shop, police suspect Marla, the only other person in the shop. Marla, who doesn't want the authorities to find out that the victim was blackmailing her, takes a defensive stance and falls for the attractive detective in charge. She conducts her own investigation, questioning the dead woman's estranged son, niece/heir, greedy business partner, and others. While not without redeeming qualities, this first effort suffers from inconsistent characterization and a few frayed story lines. An optional purchase for larger collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hair Raiser Hair Raiser (2000)
From Publishers Weekly
An engaging, busy plot drives saucy beautician Marla Shore's second outing (after 1999's Permed to Death), set in Palm Haven, Fla. When Marla assembles 10 local chefs to cook for a gala benefit to save a pristine beach property from commercial development, the chefs start enthusiastically but nasty accidents soon cause them, one by one, to withdraw. Sabotage isn't out of the question, since the board members of Ocean Guard, the preservation group sponsoring the benefit, are all at each other's throats. When someone bludgeons the board's lawyer to death with a Samoan knife belonging to a banker on the board, Marla goes to the Bahamas to look for answers, taking malicious pranks and even murder attempts in stride with all the panache of a grown-up Nancy Drew. At times Cohen overwrites, especially when describing her characters' reactions ("Marla gazed into Babs's frantic hazel eyes and her mouth curved upward"; "His face wore its usual supercilious grin as he peered at her, hazel eyes raking her attire"), but there's no reason why a good editor can't curb such excesses in future Bad Hair Day episodes. Marla's romance with police detective Dalton Vail continues to thrive, and should be a major focus for fans in the next installment. A bold pink jacket perfectly complements the text. Agent, Linda Hyatt. (Dec. 5)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Murder By Manicure Murder by Manicure (2001)
From Library Journal
In her third adventure, Palm Haven hairdresser Marla Shore (Permed to Death) happens to be present when the body of one of her clients is found at a fitness club. Suspects in the club at the time of foul play include a city councilman, a female mortgage broker, a rabid animal rights activist, and various combative employees. Marla's boyfriend, homicide detective Dalton Vail, who heads the case, cautions her against getting involved and then lets her in on clues that encourage a series of interrogations some dangerous, some not. Observations about makeup, hair, and apparel mix with humorous, sexy overtones and catty remarks. A solid series addition.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Body Wave Body Wave (2002)
From Library Journal
Series sleuth Marla Shore assists her ex-husband, who's been accused of murdering his third wife. Marla's work involves disguising herself as a nurse's aide to investigate the dead woman's wealthy family in East Ft. Lauderdale, where someone will get the victim's share of grandpa's estate. Standard complications arise: fear of commitment to love interest Lieutenant Vail, her ex-husband's half interest in her rental property, finding enough time for her job as a beautician, and the financial and family secrets hidden beneath the not-so-refined curtain of money. This follow-up to Murder by Manicure moves right along and will make good reading for the holidays.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Highlights to Heaven Highlights to Heaven (2003)
From Publishers Weekly
With its many loose ends, Cohen's fifth cozy whodunit starring hairstylist-sleuth Marla Shore (after 2002's Body Wave) lives up to its billing as a "Bad Hair Day" mystery in more ways than one. In Palm Haven, Fla., Shore juggles the demands of her salon business with problematic relationships with her mother, her mother's importunate suitor and attractive police detective Dalton Vail. A missing neighbor, a murder victim with a signature highlighting pattern and Vail's official investigation conspire to put Marla on the scent of crimes involving contraband animals, illegal furs and a potion to cure baldness. A bizarre murder scheme apparently aimed at Marla's former beauty-school classmates also figures in the patchwork plot. The supporting characters aren't vivid enough to help carry the story, while the Jewish slang and humor seem forced rather than natural. As a result, the action careens from one improbable happening to another with interludes of romance and comedy that fail to captivate or convince. With Janet Evanovich setting a high standard for screwball mysteries and Sarah Strohmeyer's Bubbles Yablonsky already providing one successfully lighthearted hairdresser-sleuth heroine, Cohen has tough competition and fails to measure up in this outing.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Died Blonde Died Blonde (2004)
Hairstylist Marla Shore stumbles over her rival’s body in the meter room behind their competing salons. When her boyfriend, hunky Detective Vail, asks for her help in solving the murder, she jumps on the case. The stakes rise when the victim’s trusted psychic warns her that someone she loves is in great danger. Her investigation takes her to a smoky bingo parlor, a spooky town run by spiritualists, and sultry Delray Beach. But what scares Marla the most is her relationship with Vail which takes a surprising turn.
Dead Roots Dead Roots (2005)
From Publishers Weekly
In Cohen's compelling seventh mystery to feature Florida hairstylist Marla Shore (after 2004's Died Blonde), Marla is looking forward to introducing her fiancé, detective Dalton Vail, to her extended family at a reunion on Thanksgiving weekend at Sugar Crest, a former plantation, now a reputedly haunted resort hotel that's owned by her aged aunt Polly. When Aunt Polly turns up suffocated in her bed, Marla must put on her sleuthing cap and track down a killer. Historic preservationists, real estate developers, town officials and avaricious heirs all have an interest in Sugar Crest. Between such hair-raising events as encountering ghosts and hearing strange voices and music, Marla is able to relax and enjoy the company of her family and fiancé. Well-developed characters and an intriguing historical background enhance this winning cozy. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Perish By Pedicure Perish by Pedicure (2006)
From Publishers Weekly
Cohen's disjointed eighth cozy (after 2005's Dead Roots) featuring salon owner Marla Shore finds the amateur sleuth fixing more than just hair at a Fort Lauderdale beauty show. When Christine Parks, Luxor's beauty products director, is discovered dead in her hotel room, Marla's friend Georgia Rogers, a Luxor sales rep who was the last person to see Christine alive, becomes the chief suspect. With no shortage of people who might have wanted Christine dead, Marla investigates an artistic director, a stylist and another sales rep, putting her own life in peril in the process. Though Cohen rewards the reader with a surprising conclusion, her abrupt shifts between Marla's suspenseful investigative efforts and her personal difficulties with the former in-laws of her widowed fiancé Det. Dalton Vail make for a bumpy ride. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Killer Knots Killer Knots (2007)
From Publishers Weekly
In Cohen's laid-back ninth mystery (after Perish by Pedicure), hairdresser and sleuth Marla Shore takes a cruise with her fiancé, police detective Dalton Vail, and his parents and teenage daughter. Shortly after boarding, Marla receives a threatening note addressed to Martha Shore. At dinner, she and Dalton find themselves seated with a tense group of museum employees, all of whom were sent on the cruise by an anonymous benefactor and received similar notes. When a piece to be sold at the cruise's auction turns out to be the work of an artist who died under unusual circumstances, Marla decides to do a bit of digging. Her detecting is complemented by a more personal subplot: how she will get along with her soon-to-be in-laws. Fans of vacation mysteries will enjoy watching Marla find her way through this light whodunit. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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