I have been basically homebound since Sunday because of a combination of the lousy weather (the kids have missed three days of school this week) and my youngest not feeling well so I had a chance to finish up the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series by Elaine Viets. I reviewed the first book in the series, Dying in Style, on December 8 at https://professorstacy.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/dying-in-style-by-elaine-viets/ and the third, Accessory to Murder, on December 15 at https://professorstacy.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/accessory-to-murder-by-elaine-viets/. (The second, High Heels are Murder, was not available for my eReader). Today, I will write about the fourth, fifth, and sixth.
Mystery shopper Josie Marcus doesn’t get the appeal of the year-round Christmas shop. But when three such holiday houses pop up within two blocks, she’s assigned to rate them anonymously.
Easy enough, Josie thinks, until she realizes that shoppers at one store are finding a strange—even deadly—secret ingredient in their holiday cake. And Josie must get to the bottom of it all before someone else becomes a Christmas spirit.
Book 5 is The Fashion Hound Murders and is described with:
Josie Marcus has been hired to check out a big pet store’s involvement with puppy mills. When an employee who clued her into the mills’ existence shows up dead, Josie realizes that sinking her teeth into this case could mean getting bitten back…
On Josie’s latest assignment, her former teacher-now working in a lingerie shop-is in need of some serious support when a customer is found murdered. Unfortunately, the teacher’s alibi is flimsier than the camisoles she sells, so Josie will need to bust out her sleuthing skills to expose the real killer…
Of these last three, the most recent, Book 6 is the best. The others (all 4 that I read) tend to blend together with no real character development of change. However, Book 6 demonstrates character growth with Josie’s mother Jane becoming a bit more complicated, with Josie really struggling with insecurity in her decision making, and with a supporting “whodunit” cast of wild and wackies. By far, Book 6 is the best, though I have to say I felt like a voyeur at times since the book revolved around a lingerie-based murder and dealt with a few lingerie-based situations (could I be any more vague?). This feeling wasn’t quite uncomfortable, but it was there and I did wonder what kind of person I was to find parts of it funny. 🙂 I am sure we all have those moments, though, and the crazy cast with their bizarre personal problems was enjoyable. You can read the first chapter at the author’s website at http://www.elaineviets.com/new/novels/default.asp if you’d like a peek!