Still another murder can’t be good news for a consignment-shop clerk who’s trying to keep a low profile since fleeing an unjust divorce settlement.
Florida seemed like just the place for CPA Helen Hawthorn to bury herself in a series of dead-end jobs with salaries that might fly under the IRS’s formidable radar. So when a Missouri judge awarded her ex-husband Rob half her future earnings, Helen (Murder with Reservations, 2007, etc.) chucked her well-paying job and headed south. Now she works for Vera Salinda at Snapdragon’s Second Thoughts, where Palm Beach’s elite bring their size-two castoffs to be sold at a hefty markdown. Chrissy Martlet is haggling with Vera over a pony-hair Prada purse when her developer husband Danny shows up. Pretty soon Chrissy is hanging by a designer scarf in a dressing room. Helen wants to look into Chrissy’s murder, if only to save Vera from harassment by police detective Richard McNally, but gets sidetracked by her mother’s death from complications of a stroke. A trip back to St. Louis to bury her mom strikes her fiancé Phil as the perfect opportunity for Helen to put herself right with the law. In spite of her stepfather Larry’s penny-pinching, Helen and her sister Kathy give their mother a fitting sendoff, though it’s interrupted by an unexpected visit. Then Helen and Phil head back to Florida, where the unsolved murder case is the only obstacle to their nuptials.
Helen’s ninth is oddly shaped, with a unnecessary twist that defies logic.