I am really enjoying this series. This one gives you a peek into the cut throat business of bridal gowns and high fashion dresses and the snobbish ultra rich who buy them. Helen is a thoroughly likeable heroine and her quirky landlady and neighbors are endearing. Poor Helen gets stuck with the rich, sexually promiscuous mother-of-the-bride from hell and her frumpy heiress daughter who you just know is being married for her money. When a body falls out of the closet at the church on the wedding day literally onto Helen's feet, you just know none of the rich people in the bridal party are going to get blamed for the murder. So Helen has to solve the murder herself to avoid being the one arrested.
Another Helen Hawthorn mystery - this time she works at Millicent's Bridal Salon where dresses for the very rich brides and mothers of brides love to shop! Helen's sence of humor and curiosity keep her in trouble but also help her solve the murder of a wealthy mother of the bride! These Dead-End Mysteries are funny at times and always quick to read since you won't want to put the book down until you see her successful again!!
This time around Helen takes a job in a bridal shop. One of the "brides to be" has brought her mother along. The mother is a total piece of work who takes over the wedding, outfitting her daughter in a dress that doesn't suit her, while making herself look fabulous. The groom is a handsome actor (is he marrying for the money?? what do you think?). When the mother is found murdered suspicion falls upon Helen who is the one who discovered the body - and who had a disagreement with her shortly before.
Just Murdered finds Helen now working at a bridal boutique and neck deep in all the drama that the wedding dress selection entails. While reading this, I found myself visualizing a television program I have enjoyed watching called Say Yes to the Dress. Several times on this show, the brides mother (usually) moves Heaven and Earth to try to upstage the bride. A lot of fighting and arguments ensue, sometimes shouting matches even, and always lots of tears. The same can be said of this book. But unlike the TV show, the mother of the bride is murdered and the murder weapon is none other than a bridal gown!
Sadly, out of all the tears that are shed, none are for the victim. I have to say, I wasnt crying over her demise either. The victim is a rich, arrogant tramp who makes out with her chauffeur on the street in plain sight of anyone walking by. Shes condescending to Helen and her employer, Millicent. Shes rude to just about everyone. Shes cold and cruel to her daughter. Shes vindictive to her ex-husband. Personally, I expected a horde of people lining up to kill this woman. Unfortunately for Helen, the police seem to be focused on her as their prime suspect since her fingerprints are all over the wedding gown. Frankly, the law enforcement element in this book leaves a lot to be desired. I found myself thinking throughout the book, Hello, Detective, OF COURSE Helens fingerprints are on the gown, you nit-wit, she works for the bridal boutique and is helping to dress the bride! Helen even emphasizes this fact to them, but they seem to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic, so of course, Helen is going to have to figure out who the killer is on her own.
Helens new man in her life wont be much help either. Apparently, his wife that nobody, especially Helen, knew about has shown up for an unexpected visit and Helen is livid. I thought she handled the entire situation poorly. If she would have taken 5 minutes to listen to him, the entire mess could have been resolved. There is an interesting scene where Helen finds herself on the receiving end of some embarrassment when she tries to surprise Phil but his wife one-ups her. Frankly, I could have done without this story line. Helens luck with relationships is a big fat zero so to my way of thinking, she should just focus on keeping her rent paid and feeding herself and her cat, Thumbs. Helens near obsession with the whole thing was over the top and was distracting her from focusing on finding out who the killer is. Since Im not all that thrilled with the Phil relationship anyway, I couldnt care less if hes married. Helen shouldnt be throwing rocks from inside her glass house anyway. Shes got lots of secrets herself that she hasnt been forthcoming with anyone about. Pot and kettle and all that.
Im still invested in this series, though Im not sure why. Maybe Phil will grow on me and Helen might actually get herself on track and get her past resolved so she can focus on a smooth future. In the meantime, she manages to muddle her way through, finds the killer without getting herself killed or at the very least, seriously hurt. There are currently eleven books in this series, so I havent even gotten halfway through yet. A lot can happen between now and then. I can say with absolute certainty that I enjoyed this dead-end job better than her last one. Helens next job is at a pet boutique so Im hopeful that this series hasnt yet gone to the dogs.
Helen Hawthorne is on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of her cheating ex-husband, and one paycheck ahead of disaster. To make it, she jumps from one dead-end job to another. Luckily, she's got many talents - including detection. In this book Helen has a job in an upscale bridal salon. Helen finds the body of an obnoxious mother of the bride stuffed in a closet of the church, and her fingerprints are found all over - she must solve the case in order to prove her innocence.
Another fun, quick and easy going read starring Helen Hawthorne, and her Florida crew that lives in the Coronado, the mid century styled apartment complex with the smoking ageless surrogate mom to Hellen, Margery. Colorful, fun, easy...beach read, I HAD to read all in this series, they are very addicting, great series.
When Helen took the job at Millicents up scale bridal salon. she expected to see some tears when brides picked their gowns . but when a rich obnoxious mother of the bride is murdered. at the wedding and helens finger prints are all over the weapon she must solve the crime to save herself from going to jail.
Helen Hawthorne takes a job in an upscale bridal shop in Fort Lauderdale. When the very wealthy obnoxious mother of the bride is murdered, Helen is suspected because her fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Helen then sets out to find out who the real killer is and clear her own name before her name and face are splashed all over the news.
Many years ago I enjoyed Elaine Viets' columns in the local St. Louis newspaper and I was delighted to find her talents had expanded into fun mystery fiction. The "dead-end jobs" series is funny and engaging and always good for a quick read. This, the 4th in the series i think, has really developed. The characters are more real and believable and because of that I care more about them. I'm looking forward to the next!
AMAZON.COM READER'S REVIEW
Ellen Viets is a wonderful author! This is the 4th in a series about heroine Helen Hawthorne, who stumbles on murders while working 'dead end' jobs that she takes to be paid under the table to hide from the IRS and her ex-husband. Wonderful book!
Helen has found herself another under the table paying job. This time she is working at a bridal boutique making minimum wage while the bridal parties around her spend thousands. This time Helen is the prime suspect in the murder and she has to work to get the police to look elsewhere.
The book was an easy read but I found that she leaves each job after the murder, setting her up for another dead end job and murder. It may start to get repetitive soon.
1. Shop Till You Drop (2003)
2. Murder Between the Covers (2003)
3. Dying to Call You (2004)
4. Just Murdered (2005)
5. Murder Unleashed (2006)
6. Murder with Reservations (2007)
7. Clubbed to Death (2008)
8. Killer Cuts (2009)
9. Half-Price Homicide (2010)
10. Pumped for Murder (2011)
11. Final Sail (2012)
12. Board Stiff (2013)
13. Catnapped! (2014)
14. Checked Out (2015)
15. The Art of Murder (2016)