* This book is now available in paperback!
By Elaine Viets
Signet, May 2013 (7.99)
Obsidian, 2012 ($23.95)
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Private investigators Helen Hawthorne and husband Phil Sagemont embark on two interesting cases in the latest Dead End Job mystery. In the first assignment, the daughter of a wealthy man says his new bride, Blossom, is a gold-digger who poisoned her father. Dad is not quite dead yet, and Helen becomes a minister, via the internet, so that she can pose as his spiritual advisor and visit him in the hospital. Phil gets a job as the estate manager so that he can monitor Blossom's comings and goings and investigate the poisoning claim. At first the couple wonders if the daughter is just hysterical, but events soon show that she is on the right track. Blossom also makes it plain that there are duties he can perform that are not in his job description. He is able to resist her charms and discovers that, sure enough, she is not exactly the loving bride she claims to be.
Her part in the Blossom case finished, Helen next goes undercover as a stewardess on a luxury yacht to find an emerald smuggler. She finds the job hard, nasty and unfulfilling, the hours long, and the wealthy passengers dripping in entitlement. The crew has some unsavory characters as well. When one of the stewardesses vanishes, she does not believe the story that she left of her own free will, so she adds another mystery to be solved to her list. She also puts herself in danger on the high seas.
While she is cleaning toilets, trying not to drop expensive dinnerware, and walking a snippy little dog, she is also worrying about her sister getting another call from her blackmailer. Helen's ex, whose greed caused her to go off the grid the last few years, is now deceased, but he's still causing trouble for her and her family. She realizes things can't keep going on this way. She and her sister need to bring an end to the blackmailer's scam — and, oh yeah, she should tell Phil what's been going on.
This is the eleventh in Viets' Dead End Job series, and is as charming and entertaining as the others. The plot is well-done, with just enough suspense. There is plenty of Florida color. Their landlady in her gaudy caftans, with her mouthy parrot, and the other denizens of the Art Deco apartment complex, provide comic relief and assistance with crime solving. This is an enjoyable read in a delightful series. Viets also writes the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series.
*This review is based on the hardcover edition.
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