by Cynthia Chow
& Duffy Brown
While this week in honor of Earth Day we are primarily featuring ebooks, this is the only print book we are reviewing because it has an Earth Day related theme of “recycling” clothes. We also have a fun Earth Day related guest post by Duffy. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Lethal in Old Lace. There is also a link to purchase it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL
Lethal in Old Lace: A Consignment Shop Mystery by Duffy Brown
Review by Cynthia Chow
Reagan Summerside just wanted to bask in the moment. She couldn’t believe that despite her bad man-juju, fate has gifted with a marriage proposal from hunky, extremely eligible bachelor attorney Walker Boone. Reagan barely has time for that reality to settle in before she’s dragged into yet another calamity by her irrepressible Aunt Kiki Vanderpool. It seems that Willie Fishbine’s wake at the House of Eternal Slumber is lacking in attendance, and since professional mourners Annie and Elsie Fritz are always willing to volunteer their time at Reagan’s Prissy Fox Consignment Shop, she and Aunt Kiki have been enlisted as additional seat-fillers. It only takes one act to begin a cascade of calamities that get them further and further into trouble, and here it is the diet-induced swapping of a Snickers for a healthier (if less tasty) Clif Bar. Although it is more a case of casket-trading than grave-robbing, Aunt Kiki’s impulsive act of candy theft has them blackmailed by a Justin Bieber-clone who forces them to investigate the death of his grandfather or have her larceny posted on YouTube.
Reagan’s life further slides out of control when she encounters a series of corpses popping up and then disappearing, and unfortunately this never occurs in the actual mortuary. While Aunt Kiki considers this an out-of-sight, out-of-mind, non-issue, Reagan fears that the Fritz sisters may be landing themselves in jail. With all clues leading towards the Sleepy Pines retirement home, Reagan convinces her aunt into faking an injury in order to become an inside source. As someone who has mastered the art of getting her own way, Kiki wasn’t exactly a reluctant new resident of Dixie’s own Peyton Place, “Sexy Pines.” She’s less fond of the random accidents that befall her, although it does give her insight into Willie’s vitamin Spring Chicken Miracle Capsules scam, the hot new mortuary owner juggling multiple girlfriends, and the gold-digger sisters running their own tantalizing form of Uber.
This is an exuberant entry of a series that somehow balances outrageous humor with genuinely heart-felt moments. Only Reagan could find that inclusion into her wedding party is becoming a form of bribery to get information and out of possible arrests, and her hopes for a small ceremony dwindle. What readers will appreciate is that she and Walker will never be a typical suburban couple, and leaving mayhem in their wake despite Reagan’s best intentions. The quirks of Dixie life are delightful, especially since they are illogical only to those not immersed in culture. Reagan’s exasperation is our joy, and while her happy ending may not be what she expected, it definitely is what she needed.
It is always a special treat, literally, to have easy-to-follow recipes included, and in Duffy Brown’s Lethal in Old Lace, she has given her readers thirteen Very Best Martinis recipes introduced by Auntie Kiki.
The Snooty Fox: A Fun Way to Recycle
by Duffy Brown
They say write what you know and that’s want I did. I write the Consignment Shop mystery series and I work in a consignment shop, The Snooty Fox here in Cincinnati. I’ve been there part time for almost twenty years.
Don’t you love the name Snooty Fox! Fact is I named the Prissy Fox in my series after the Snooty Fox. The Snoot, as I call it, is an upscale consignment shop meaning we are not Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul. Not that there is one thing wrong with shopping these places but the Snoot only takes clothes within a two year style period and that are gently worn.
A consignment shop is one of the most fun ways to recycle. It’s wearing designer clothes on the cheap and you can make money at it when you sell your own stuff. I could never afford a Gucci handbag but I gotta tell you I love having one. I got mine for a hundred bucks. A hundred bucks you say is a ton of money…except I’ve used it for five summers and it still looks brand new. Pretty good deal.
Most of all I love bragging to my friends how much I paid for the great deals I find. The conversation goes something like, “Oh, I just love your Kate Spade purse.” And my reply is, “I got it at the Snoot for forty bucks!” instead of the usual three-hundred and fifty!
How many times have you bought something, wore it once, decided it wasn’t your color or it didn’t fit the way you liked and you were stuck with it? Well, that’s where the Snoot comes in. Now you can sell that green plaid jacket you just had to have but then decided you hated at the Snoot. There is a customer out there who will love that jacket. You won’t get what you paid for the jacket but it beats hanging in the back of your closet taking up space.
Consignment shopping is a lot like solving a mystery. It’s all about the hunt for the perfect scarf, skirt, purse, dress, or shoes. I think that’s why mystery and the Consignment Shop series seem like a perfect fit. It puts two of the things I enjoy most together in a series and it’s a total blast. I get to write about murder and mayhem for fun and profit and I get to find great deals on clothes and look good for next to nothing.
Having a consignment shop for the backdrop of a mystery works so well. There’s the constant change of customers and clothes and the stories that go with them. Nothing stays the same, things change and the characters talk about great deals and who killed who…and usually they do this over a martini on the front porch of the shop! What fun is that!
If you’re ever in Cincinnati, come visit me at the Snooty Fox and I’ll show you around. Here is a picture of a road trip I did with readers to the Snooty Fox. I rented a bus, got lunches from Subway and we had a great shopping day!! The bus was packed with bags!!
I just bet there’s a cute little Louis Vuitton bag out there with your name on it! The good thing is there are no dead bodies in the dressing rooms. For that, you can head on over to the Consignment Shop mysteries.
Happy shopping and sleuthing.
Hugs, Duffy Brown
To enter to win a copy of Lethal in Old Lace, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “lace,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 21, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.