Beach Bags and Burglaries By Dorothy Howell

Aug 2, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of Beach Bags and Burglaries at the end of this review.

For twenty-four year-old Haley Randolph, it seems that every silver lining has a cloud. She recently got the awesome job of event planner for the very cool L.A. Affairs but she has to keep working at the questionable-in-taste mid-range Holt Department store for the medical benefits. She won a promotion to work out of Holt’s corporate offices, away from demanding customers who actually want customer service, but it means Haley will be closer to Ty Cameron, her ex-boyfriend whom she can barely think of without crying. To top it off, Haley just won an upgraded seven-day vacation with her three besties to the exclusive Rowan Island Resort. The downside? The resort is owned by a reclusive and scandal-ridden billionaire who may or not be alive, an indeterminate state shared by a beautiful maid who went missing from the Rowan Hotel a day earlier. dorothy howell

Unfortunately, stalking a must-have designer bag leads Haley to the very dead body of the missing Jaslyn Gordon. Haley needs a reason to investigate and the author provides a hilarious one. When frightened vacationers cancel their stay, Haley and her friends are pity-guilted into being guests for a desperate bride. This is all the incentive Haley needs to solve the murder and bring back the real guests. The last thing she wants to do is attend the wedding for a Bridezilla.

The friends’ No Man Talk Allowed policy falls to the wayside pretty fast when Haley spots FBI agent Luke Warner. They met and shared a moment of zing while he was working in the Garment District. That’s only the first in a downpour of hotties from Haley’s life who descend on the island to provide information, support, and loads of emotional confusion.

Much hilarity comes from Haley’s unapologetic materialism and superficial judgments. Just as entertaining are her interactions with Bella, an ambitious hair stylist who creates not just hairstyles but sculptural art, practical Marcie, and celebrity-obsessed Sandy. The four women may have disastrous love lives but they are anything but clichéd or stereotypical. Haley does have an unhealthy and possibly pathological obsession for the latest designer bag, and loathes the drudgery of a nine-to-five job. Both her broken heart and pageant queen mother (who never abdicated the throne) help to make Haley more sympathetic than flighty. At heart she is loyal to her friends, devoted to those she loves, and willing to seek justice at the risk of her own neck. If the Sea Vixen IT bag should happen to cross her path, well, all the better! As for Haley’s personal life, the author loves ending her books on a cliffhanger. This one is no exception. With the groundwork Howell laid, it looks as though it will be worth the wait.

To enter to win a copy of A Beach Bags and Burglaries, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Bags,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 9, 2014. U.S. residents only.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL!

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Have read five Howell books and eager to read the latest.

  2. This does sound like a terrific book. At one time I was a shop till you drop kind of woman, so I can understand Haley.

  3. Love this series, can’t wait to read this newest book.

  4. I have read all of the Haley books and they make me ROAR with laughter. I look forward to reading this one, whether I win it or not. But I hope I do!

  5. I am sad I missed this but I am so glad to have learned about it.

  6. I admit it was a fun read with a cliffhanger of an ending, but, as the mother of the manager of a Kohl’s (after which Holt’s was modeled), I cannot help but hate her work ethic and her total distaste for the affordable fashions they sell. Dorothy Howell has a new series of books, beginning with Fatal Debt and Fatal Luck, with a heroine that is much more grown-up than Haley. I had thought that Haley had grown up some, but I guess I was wrong. She does do the right thing, however, and is smart and courageous. I guess maybe she can’t help being the apple that didn’t fall far from the beauty queen tree.

  7. Looks like a great cozy mystery.

  8. Haven’t read this series yet but look forward to doing so.

  9. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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