Wednesday, November 5, 2008

MURDER WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS: A Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Mystery
By Elaine Viets

Year-round Christmas stores are an interesting phenomenon of our time and their appeal is an enigma wrapped in tinsel for Josie Marcus. Three such holiday houses pop up within a two block radius and Josie is assigned to mystery shop two of them. One of them is an questionable "naughty" shop with unbelievably inappropriate, tacky merchandise. That's when all of the trouble begins.

Josie's job as a mystery shopper is much harder than it sounds and is made more difficult when she learns that the ex of her sexy plumber boyfriend, Mike, owns the "naughty" Christmas store. To make matters worse, she finds our Mike is an investor in the shop. Josie tells her deadbeat boss she has a conflict of interest mystery shopping the "naughty" store and he says do it anyway! A bad review from Josie turns into picketers and a loss of business.

To make the season even more jolly, Josie's ex-con, ex-boyfriend-but-never-her-husband turns up out of the blue to lay claim to their daughter. In the midst of all of this jocularity, Josie is faced with the preteen angst of her daughter and the teenage anger of her boyfriend's daughter. Murder is served up with holiday cheer and the season turns dark.

If you read this blog often, you know I enjoy Elaine Viets work. Her mystery shopper and dead end job novels are entertaining. She handles murder and mayhem with a humorous, entertaining touch. Her novels always provide me with an escape. What do you think.

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