The death of a philanthropist has Florida salon owner Marla Vail tearing her hair out.
Rosana Hernandez keeps careful records on all her clients’ needs and preferences. So she knew that Valerie Weston had a deadly allergy to latex. Yet there Valerie lies, stone cold dead under a green facial mask, clearly the victim of anaphylactic shock. Marla (Peril by Ponytail, 2015, etc.) sends the hysterical aesthetician home and closes the spa rooms of the Cut ’N Dye salon while waiting for the police. She doesn’t expect to see her husband, handsome detective Dalton Vail, respond to the call. With Christmas close at hand, the Palm Haven department is swamped, and Dalton is the only one available to investigate the death at his wife’s shop. But Marla can’t wait. She needs the case solved now or risk losing holiday business. She’s especially afraid that the annual gala sponsored by Friends of Old Florida will be canceled out of respect for benefactress Weston’s death. Sue Ellen Wyatt, manager of FOFL’s special events, assures Marla that the ball will go on so that famed designer Yolanda Whipp can show off her latest fashions. Marla wonders if Whipp could have had a hand in Weston’s demise, especially since the fashionista’s husband, Henutt Soe Dum, has reputed ties to the Asian mob. Marla also worries that Weston’s work with FOFL may have landed her on the wrong side of developer Rick Rodriguez, who wants to build on land protected by the preservationists. Whatever the motive, Marla needs Valerie’s death solved pronto so she can go back to planning her blended family’s joint Christmas-Hanukkah party and fending off their inquiries about when she and her new husband plan to have a baby.
Routine poke-your-nose-where-it-doesn’t-belong fare, with results as expected.