by Cynthia Chow
In honor of Earth Day all of our book reviews & giveaways are ebooks! Details at the end of this post on how to win an ebook copy of Killer Blonde.
“Being blonde doesn’t have anything to do with your natural hair color. It’s an attitude. A true blonde knows she can get away with murder.”
As Margery Flax, owner South Florida Coronado Tropics Apartments, tells her tenant Helen Hawthorne, the murder all started with becoming blonde. It didn’t cause the murder, but it sure granted the attitude and confidence to commit it.
Back in 1970, in an office that was so conservative that it still embraced sexist prejudices that would make Mad Men seem progressive, Vicki was a rare female boss who dominated her office through the use of her size two figure, pink wardrobe, high heels, and the complete intimidation of any woman weaker than herself. Margery was crafty enough to be a secretary who knew everyone’s secrets and exactly how to use them, so she was protected from the manipulations of her amorally ambitious coworkers, but poor Minfreda “Minnie” was not so lucky. Minnie really was a mouse who embodied her mousey brunette hair color, so despite her intelligence and dedication to work she has become a doormat and target for mockery by her entire office.
Everyone has a breaking point though, and in this tale of 1970s office politics Elaine Viets shares a tale of blonde betrayal, murder, and a secret office burial. On the run from a judge’s decree herself, Helen is both fascinated and appalled by Margery’s tale where justice, but not the law, ultimately prevails.
In this delightful short story that first appeared in the Drop-Dead Blonde, a 1995 collection of stories by Nancy Martin, Denise Swanson, Elaine Viets, and Victoria Laurie, Viets realistically and with great detail recreates the unpleasant, but for the time normal, frat-boy oppressive attitudes of the male-dominated business world and the women who both exploited, and were exploited by, this environment. Viets is one of the best at satirizing and mocking the conventions of society, and here she is at her best. Fans of Viets’s long-running Dead-End Job Mystery series already know the reasons for Helen’s reasons for fleeing St. Louis and hiding out in Florida, but all newcomers need to know that it began with seeing naked butts on her kitchen table and ended with the swing of a crowbar.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Killer Blonde, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Killer,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 26, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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