Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Salon: Half-Price Homicide by Elaine Viets

If it wasn’t for bad luck, Helen Hawthorne won’t have any luck at all.

At least that’s the way it seems most of the time as Helen changes from one dead-end job to the next trying to stay one step ahead of her womanizing leech of an ex-husband, Rob. Helen is the heroine in HALF-PRICE HOMICIDE, author Elaine Viet’s latest installment in the Dead-End Job Mystery series.

Helen’s current job is at a high-end clothing consignment shop in South Florida. Vera, the shop owner, buys and re-sales designer apparel that is to die for in more ways than one.

A customer is found hanging by a Gucci scarf in the shop’s dressing room. The list of suspects includes the victim’s developer husband and a female county commissioner, as well as a neighbor from Helen’s apartment complex.

With the police turning the shop upside down looking for clues and no customers browsing through the racks, Vera ask Helen to solve the murder so life can go back to normal. As Helen works on the list of suspects, another murder victim is found. This time it’s her neighbor that was in the shop and a suspect in the first murder.

Helen’s unusual group of eclectic friends from the apartment complex returns including apartment owner, Margery, whose love of outlandish outfits and chain smoking habits are a stable force in Helen’s life.

To add to Helen’s stress, her mother had a heart attack with complications shortly after stopping Helen’s wedding and had to be hospitalized. When her condition takes a turn for the worse, Helen has to return to St. Louis to lay her mother to rest. While in St. Louis, Helen and her sister deal with their step father, Lawn Boy Larry, who tries to skimp on the funeral to save the money for himself.

Helen starts making arrangements to get her life back on track and legal. But, before she can her ex-husband turns up. Rob’s reappearance causes Helen more heartache and worries, even endangering the future of her young nephew.

Some how in the midst of all the craziness, including an attempt on Helen’s life; she and her true love, Phil, try a second time to get married.

From the first introduction to the chic consignment shop to the thunderstorm on the beach at the end, author Elaine Viets takes the reader on a whirlwind ride of fun, excitement, mystery and suspense. Follow Helen as she tracks her way through the list of high society suspects, political intrigue, and porcelain pineapples. 

HALF-PRICE HOMICIDE is a stand alone book, although it is the ninth installment in the mystery series. First-time readers of the series won’t be left wondering what’s going on, but they will want to know all the crazy jobs Helen has had before along with all the mishaps she finds herself in.

Fans of the series will be reunited with some old friends and introduced to several new ones. In addition, they may find that the curse of Apartment 2C could be changing.

For a fun time in a hot city, check out HALF-PRICE HOMICIDE. You‘ll never look at designer labels quite the same.

For more information on author Elaine Viets or the Dead-End Job Mystery series, check out or Break Through Promotions

Half-Price Homicide, A Dead-End Job Mystery by Elaine Viets, Obsidian Mysteries, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-451-22989-2, Hardcover, 264 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


  1. I like this title-I have never head of this series but am going to check it out.

  2. Excellent and thorough review ... sounds quite interesting - and this is part of a rather lengthy series too? I appreciate "series" books that stand alone, and when they are very good it entices me to pick up and read the other books as well.

  3. Mason - Thanks for this very fine review. Marvin's right that it's hard to write a book that's part of a series but could also stand alone, but this book sounds like one that could. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. I haven't heard of this series, but it sure does sound like a lot of fun!

  5. Great review as always. I think a sign of a great writer of a series is when the first time reader reads the first chapter - and doesn't feel lost - as if the reader has read the prior books.

    Have a great day, Mason.

  6. Sounds like fun! I like books in a series that can stand alone. I never seem to read them in order anyway :)

  7. Esme, it is a catchy title and I love the book cover. It's quite a fun cozy mystery series to read.

    Marvin, all of the books the series are stand alones. Each in their own way is quite fun and interesting to read.

    Margot, I think one way this character travels from job to job and situation to situation helps make the books stand alone.

    Bermudaonion, I hope you check out the series. It is lots of laughs along with the suspense and mystery.

    Teresa, with this books (as well as the others) you won't feel lost having not read the prior books. You may be a little curious as to what happen before but that's a good thing. Have a wonderful day.

    Jemi, I know what you mean. I enjoy this series very much but I began reading it about four books back and still haven't gotten to read the first few yet.

  8. Sounds like a whole lotta stuff going on in this book!

  9. I love these cozy mysery series. Viets is one of those I've read and liked!
    Harvee, My Sunday Salon

  10. LadyFi, it is a fun read.

    Diane, you wouldn't believe all that Helen gets into and out of in this adventure. It's great.

    Harvee, Viets is a great cozy mystery author. Enjoyed your Sunday Salon. Some great reviews there.

  11. Mason, thanks so much for reviewing "Half-Price Homicide." I know you have so many other choices.
    The Sunday Salon brings together a good group of cozy lovers.

  12. Great review. It sounds like a fun book and every once in a while, I need a fun book!

    Straight From Hel

  13. Love the title! Great review, Mason. Sounds like an interesting cross betwene chick lit and mystery.

  14. I just finished this book and it was a great read.


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