A hair salon owner finds herself in the middle of another murder mystery, much to the dismay of her favorite police detective.
Valentine Beaumont, owner of Beaumont’s beauty parlor, is having a very bad morning. First, she poked her eye with her mascara wand. Then she walked out on her porch, only to discover that somebody had left an upright sex toy there with a perm rod wrapped around it—an ominous reference to the time she caught a murderer by using a similar implement to injure his “family jewels.” It’s clear that most infamous stylist in Rueland, Massachusetts, is being stalked. Still, she shows up to help her friend Jimmy O’Shea get ready for the grand opening of his new pub, the Wee Irish Dude. (Jimmy was a California surfer before moving to Rueland years ago.) As Valentine and the entertainingly offbeat staff at Beaumont’s begin to clean and set up, a large beer keg comes crashing down the pub’s staircase. It breaks open, revealing the dead body of Jimmy’s cousin, Dooley. McFarlane’s (Murders, Curlers & Cruises, 2018, etc.) fourth volume of her madcap mystery series is off to a rousing start as the police arrive, headed by a man that Valentine calls a “extremely sexy, ruggedly handsome, tough police detective,” Michael Romero. He brings more bad news: Ziggy Stoaks, the killer taken down by Valentine’s perm rod, has escaped from prison. This beach-read lark is part cozy mystery and part farce, as when Valentine defends herself by squirting hand lotion into the mouth of a gun-wielding assailant. The feisty, pleasantly sarcastic heroine is an able narrator who can turn just about anything in her bag of beauty supplies into an imaginative weapon—even if it’s just a rubber band. Well-paced action scenes and two romantic suitors add to the fun. Of the latter, Romero has the inside track, but McFarlane makes Jock, an Argentinian hair stylist, very tempting.
A frothy adventure with a cache of inventive weaponry and a final surprise.