A cheeky gossip columnist deconstructs a popular reality makeover show and solves a murder in the process.
Against his better judgment, catty television entertainment reporter Rick Domino agrees to an on-air room redecoration courtesy of the popular cable program, My House, Your House (think Trading Spaces). His better judgment is confirmed when Rick is paired on the show with his backstabbing co-hostess Mitzi McGuire. But the enlisting of Rick’s unlikely protégé Terry Zane and Terry’s ex-wife Darla Sue, the trailer trash queen, as the opposing TV team makes the ordeal almost bearable. Rick first met Terry, a rugged cop, during his debut (Best Murder of the Year, 2002). Ever since he helped Terry out of the closet, Rick has been gaying it forward by mentoring him. Their second round introduces a batch of bizarre design consultants—Shirtless Bill, former beauty queen Curtsy Ann, and frilly Aunt Fern, to name just three—before killing off one of their estimable number, dragon lady Helena Godiva. Because the prime suspect is wild-child carpenter Ann-Margret Wochinsky, who happens to be Terry’s cousin, he and Rick are pressed into service to question the colorful likes of X-rated comedienne Tippi, TV cop-show sidekick Fernando, who has S&M secrets, and Hollywood couple Basil and Tarragon, who have a marriage of convenience.
Bloch skewers his overstuffed cast with relish and panache, running a mot a minute, but lets his plot flounder.