by Duffy Brown is part of the ‘Consignment Shop Mystery’ series and features Reagan Summerside (now that her divorce from Hollis Beaumont III is final), her Cher-quoting aunt Kiki and the infuriating lawyer Walker Boone among other quirky characters. Reagan’s efforts to support herself result in using part of her partially restored Victorian mansion (her only asset after the divorce) to off sell her designer clothes to the fashion-starved Savannah citizens of her acquaintance. The threat of losing her house due to her ex-husband’s inconsiderate incarceration for the murder of his current lover prompts Reagan to try her hand at being a private investigator. Unfortunately, Reagan might be better at planning an appropriate outfit to wear than acting as an efficient sleuth, if she lives long enough to do either.
This fun cozy mystery sets the stage for a delightful series that blends the charm of Southern life with a multitude of eccentric characters. Reagan’s self-deprecating humor and her aunt’s cheerful willingness to aid and abet her cash-strapped niece in her ill-conceived schemes keep the action moving along so artfully that one almost forgets that a murder has occurred and that there is still very real danger lurking. The myriad of mysterious characters and their gradual unmasking keeps the reader very entertained while misdirection and extraneous clues keep the villain unobtrusive yet very present. A great introduction to an undoubtedly entertaining series.
A new title, Killer in Crinolines, in this fun series should be released in May.