Brown’s latest Consignment Shop Mystery is a rip-roaring, hijinks-filled cozy mystery.
Reagan Summerside’s mamma is running for city alderman. Though a bit of a disaster working on her mom’s campaign, Reagan is present when rival politico Kipling Seymour shows up. He’s got a brand new attack ad lined up to air the next day unless Gloria Summerside is willing to concede.
Needless to say, it’s not just a few choice words that get thrown.
Gloria, regretting losing her temper, decides to bring a peace offering to Seymour in the form of a bottle of honey bourbon. That doesn’t go well either. Reagan and several others witness the very public exchange outside Seymour’s campaign headquarters. Not only does Gloria threaten the slimy wannabee politician, she slugs him for good measure.
Unfortunately, Reagan—with her Aunt KiKi in tow—discovers the very dead Kipling Seymour in his office a short while later. He was known to have a bad heart. The glass of honey bourbon in his desk, however, helped him on his way. Someone laced it with digitalis.
“Every time I see you someone’s dead,” says Aldeen Ross, the local police detective, upon finding Reagan at the scene of the crime. Aldeen’s also heard about the altercation between Reagan’s mom and Seymour. It’s not long before Gloria Summerside becomes the prime suspect.
Reagan knows her mother’s being framed, especially after finding the empty honey bourbon bottle in her trash. She’s determined to clear her mamma’s good name. That and hopefully clear out the pearl-girls who’ve moved Gloria’s campaign headquarters into Reagan’s consigment shop!
Helping her out is larger-than-life KiKi, Reagan’s aunt and Gloria’s sister. The dance instructor wife of a cardiologist, KiKi shows up—often with martini in hand—to sleuth along side her niece in the search for juicy gossip and clues. Their first caper is disguising themselves as elderly mourners at the wake for the scumbucket—as they call him—deceased Kip Seymour. As if that couldn’t possibly go wrong…
The memorable wake is just the first of many madcap capers that Reagan and/or her aunt find themselves embroiled in as they try to get to the bottom of who killed Seymour.
Not that there’s any shortage of suspects. Seymour’s wife, Money-Honey, isn’t all that distraught. Marigold and Lolly, two of Gloria’s campagin workers, both had axes to grind. Seymour’s wife, Money-Honey, isn’t all that distraught. And Gloria wasn’t Seymour’s only opponent; bartender Archie Lee also had a hat in the ring. With Seymour dead and Gloria accused, he’d be a shoo in to win the election. Then there’s Archie’s brother—and de facto bouncer, at least as far as Reagan’s concerned—who’s awfully protective…
But was the election the motive or was there something else?
Seymour’s wife, Money-Honey, isn’t all that distraught. And she’s more than happy to take over her husband’s business interests. Then there’s the shady contractor known as Dozer who’s been keeping a file on all Seymour’s shoddy construction jobs.
It’s just a matter of time before it all unravels and the case is solved. After all, as Reagan says, “This is Savannah; everybody knows everything in ten minutes flat.” She’ll need to be careful, though. She could be targeted for sticking her neck out and crossing the wrong people.
And then there’s Boone Walker. He’d prefer she stay out of the case altogether. This bad boy done good was the lawyer that served as her philandering husband’s divorce attorney, leaving her with nothing but the historic Savannah home she’s turned into a consigment shop. Boone’s an unlikely potential romantic interest, but as the story moves along, there’s no denying the simmering tension between them.
“You two are oil and vinegar,” says Reagan’s mom, assessing Reagan’s relationship with Boone.
Reagan’s oft misadventures in sleuthing, the quirky characters, and the humorous dialogue and situations make for an enjoyable read that’s sure to entertain readers. Just consider this exchange between Reagan and her aunt:
“I’m going to tell you what I know, which isn’t much, and I have a lot of questions, and you can’t go off half-cocked and get in trouble and—”
“Oh for crying in a basket, you’re worse than Congress. Will you just get to the point?”
Pearls and Poison is the third book in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. The book, available in paperback, is due out tomorrow (March 4, 2014). This one’s a real hoot, likely to appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. One word of warning though, you may want to start from the beginning as there are a few spoilers detailing minor plot points from previous books.