Widowed hairdresser Marla Shore (Permed to Death) takes charge of contacting chefs to cook for an important fundraiser sponsored by her wealthy cousin in Ft. Lauderdale. Unfortunately, someone tries to sabotage her effortsDor rather the fundraising event itself, the proceeds from which help preserve an oceanfront conservation property. Should the proceeds fall short, the property reverts to a mystery heir. When an ambitious, somewhat sleazy attorney on the fundraising board is murdered, Marla's cousin asks her to investigate. An easy-to-take series title with the ready appeal of an independent female sleuth and colorful Florida settings. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
An engaging, busy plot drives saucy beautician Marla Shore's second outing (after 1999's Permed to Death), set in Palm Haven, Fla. When Marla assembles 10 local chefs to cook for a gala benefit to save a pristine beach property from commercial development, the chefs start enthusiastically but nasty accidents soon cause them, one by one, to withdraw. Sabotage isn't out of the question, since the board members of Ocean Guard, the preservation group sponsoring the benefit, are all at each other's throats. When someone bludgeons the board's lawyer to death with a Samoan knife belonging to a banker on the board, Marla goes to the Bahamas to look for answers, taking malicious pranks and even murder attempts in stride with all the panache of a grown-up Nancy Drew. At times Cohen overwrites, especially when describing her characters' reactions ("Marla gazed into Babs's frantic hazel eyes and her mouth curved upward"; "His face wore its usual supercilious grin as he peered at her, hazel eyes raking her attire"), but there's no reason why a good editor can't curb such excesses in future Bad Hair Day episodes. Marla's romance with police detective Dalton Vail continues to thrive, and should be a major focus for fans in the next installment. A bold pink jacket perfectly complements the text. Agent, Linda Hyatt. (Dec. 5) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.