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TIE DYED AND DEAD
By Sharon Short
Avon, February 2008 ($6.99)
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Josie Toadfern, is owner of a laundromat and the undisputed Queen of Stain Removal in the town of Paradise, Mason County, Ohio. She's not too impressed with the wave of excitement accompanying the reunion concert of the Mayfair Sisters, the three local singers who'd made a big splash in the early 1960's, only to fade into obscurity by the end of the decade, unable to adjust to the changing times. No one in town is untouched by the return of the Prodigal Daughters. Josie's cousin Sally has programmed the jukebox in her club to play only Mayfair songs. Caleb Loudermilk, the editor of the local paper, is hoping for a big scoop so he can move up the journalist ladder. Josie has her own part to play, having been asked to clean and refresh the sisters' costumes, some of which will be put up for auction. Cherry, who owns the beauty shop and is engaged to the sheriff, covets one of the vintage gowns for her wedding dress, even though there's no way she can fit into it.
The singers have returned to their home town to raise money for their elderly mother's care. Although the girls had earned a lot of money, a sleazy agent ripped them off, leading to their mother's bankruptcy. Josie gets closer to the family than she cares to, and she makes an interesting observation: each of the sisters became singers for their own reasons: Cornelia sang for money, Constance wanted fame, and Candace sang for love. As the story plays out, they each act in accordance with their particular choices.
There's a bit of woo-woo as Josie gets some ghostly advice from Mrs. Oglevee, the junior high teacher whose murder Josie had solved. She seems to turn up in times of crisis, and Josie is seeing a lot of her lately. A valuable dress in her care goes missing, the new director of her autistic cousin's group home does not share Josie's ideas of how to treat adults with autism, and she literally stumbles into the Man of Her Dreams, whose identity causes her a few nightmares. Oh yes, there is a grizzly murder, and "Nosey Josie," as her ex-flame, the Chief of Police refers to her, can't help but get involved in solving the crime.
This is the sixth book in the Stain-Busting Mystery series, and Josie's sixth venture into crime-fighting as well as stain-busting. She's a likable character, aided and abetted, or hindered, by other likable characters. The series continues to be fresh and fun.
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