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Murder after a Fashion
Accessories Mystery #3
Grace Carroll

Berkley Prime Crime
June 2013/ 978-0-425-25219-2
Mystery/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Dolce's boutique in San Francisco is every rich socialite's dream boutique. Featuring the latest designer duds, shoes, and jewelry, Dolce's is special because both Dolce and her employee, Rita Jewel, go the extra mile to make sure their client's needs are catered too, and that they always leave happy and well-dressed.

Rita's been making an effort to improve herself outside of work, and she's ready to take a second cooking class from Chef Guido Torcelli. Unfortunately, before she can sign up, the chef gives her the bum's rush and is murdered shortly thereafter. This leaves Rita, as one of the last people to see him, as a suspect. Not a serious one, however, since she is slightly involved with Detective Jack Wall, who knows Rita isn't a killer. She is though, a woman who can't keep her nose out of police business, and blindly takes careless risks.

Rita is interested in two other men as well. One man is a handsome ER doctor and the other a Romanian gymnast. The problem is, she can't seem to settle on any one of them, nor do they seem inclined to take her too seriously.

Between self-improvement, full time work, three men orbiting her and now the effort to find Chef Guido's killer, Rita's life is rather full. Will she be able to solve the crime before the police without risking her own life? Just why is it so important to Rita to be the one to find the murderer? I'll tell you why- Rita is about as self-absorbed, selfish and risk-taking as a protagonist can be.

If I knew someone like Rita in real life, I'm sure I wouldn't like her at all. However, Grace Carroll is a clever enough author to imbue in Rita an inherent likeability that transcends her flaws. I've read and reviewed the first two books in this series ("Shoe Done It" and "Died with a Bow,") and am happy to report that the series remains funny, smart, and right in style.

This would be a great beach read, and I think that both adults and teens with a sense of fashion will enjoy "Murder after a Fashion."

Reviewed 2013