I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the next Bad Hair Day Mystery so I was thrilled when I connected with Nancy and she sent me an advanced copy. She also made my day when she said she would stop by here for a Cozy Wednesday visit, so today is definitely a Very Good Hair Day!!!
Thanks Lori, I am happy to be here.
Weddings and Murder by Nancy J. Cohen
Weddings always make Marla Shore shed a tear of joy, and that goes for me too. Even if I don’t know the couple, I’ll get choked up seeing the veiled bride in her ivory gown facing the altar alongside her groom. During Kate and William’s royal spectacle, I was glued to the TV. So it comes as no surprise that I had to write a wedding story.
Shear Murder, the tenth book in my Bad Hair Day mystery series, finds hairdresser Marla Shore as a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s ceremony. Things go terribly wrong when Marla finds the matron of honor—Jill’s sister—dead under the cake table.
What is it about weddings that can bring out the worst in people? Is it that their passions are aroused? That they’re reminded of their own disappointments? That their envy of the happy couple’s joy drives them to despair? Certainly, weddings are a popular setting for murder mysteries, often becoming the theme for an entire series.
Since it’s been thirty-five years since my own nuptials, I had to update my knowledge about current customs. Bridal wear, music, flowers, party favors, catering menus, ceremonial and religious details, all of these were necessary to research. I was amazed at the size of this industry. At 2.5 million weddings a year, it fuels a forty billion dollar business. Magazines are devoted to bridal wear and advice on all aspects of this exciting day in a woman’s life. Bridal boutiques offer everything from gowns and shoes to evening bags and tiaras. The selection of bridal dresses itself is staggering. No wonder planning a wedding is the subject of every girl’s dreams.
Flowers may be only one aspect, but they play an important role in my mystery. Marla, wishing to question Jill’s florist, pretends she’s scouting decorators for a friend. The florist seats her down in his shop and shows her some albums.
“Here are some pictures of the most common bouquet styles.” He pulled another book from the stack and flicked open the pages to a classic all-white collection. “The round nosegay is always popular. People used these back in the fourteenth century to mask odors. That’s where the nosegay got its name. Get it? Nose?” He giggled.
“I see.” What she saw was that he made her lose concentration. If she didn’t focus their conversation, she’d never get out of there.
“If your friend chooses to wear a formal gown, I’d suggest this cascade bouquet.” He showed her another picture. “Or for a more contemporary design, we can do wonders with calla lilies, orchids and anthuriums. These can be simple but sophisticated.”
“How about candles, like at Jill’s wedding?” she said in a desperate attempt to steer the conversation.
“At the ceremony, she can have flowers alone, or flowers plus candlelight. We have lots of options for the dinner tables, depending on the look she wants. Also, I can suggest colors for the table linens and chairs. It would help if your friend brings in swatches from the bridal dresses.”
Mute, Marla merely nodded.
“We can do gifts, too. You know, for the bridal party, as well as small remembrances for the wedding guests.” He twirled his hand in the air. “It depends on how elaborate your friend cares to go. Who’s doing the cake? We can scatter rose petals on the cake table, or we could use orchids, my favorite.”
Ah, there’s the opening she needed. “Speaking of wedding cakes, I’m wondering where Jill and Arnie bought their cake knife. Was it from a gift shop or did you supply it?”
“Arnie gave the knife to me beforehand. I brought it in my van along with everything else.”
“So you placed it on the table beside the cake, before the ceremony even started?”
“My dear, I finished doing the ballroom before the bride even arrived.”
The sad thing is the bride might have the most beautiful bouquet at her ceremony, but she has to toss it at the reception. Then she’s off to her honeymoon and never sees the gorgeous flower arrangement again. According to my wedding photos, I had a cascade bouquet with white roses and carnations. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? Centerpieces alone can be an expensive proposition or a place to save money toward catering instead. With so many details to manage, it’s no surprise the happy woman often turns into bridezilla. And other than funerals and bar mitzvahs, this may be the only time extended relatives draw together. Who knows what dangerous secrets some of them might be hiding? With hidden passions at bay, weddings are perfect settings for murder mysteries.
Weddings always make Marla Shore shed a tear of joy, and she’s elated to attend her friend Jill’s reception. Marla’s own nuptials are weeks away, and she’s busy following her frenetic to-do list. Her plans go awry when she discovers Jill’s matron of honor dead under the cake table, a knife embedded in her chest. Lots of folks aren’t sorry to see Torrie go, especially since the bride’s sister knew their deepest secrets. But when suspicion falls upon Jill, Marla wonders if her dear friend is truly innocent. She’d better untangle the snarl of suspects and iron out the clues before the killer highlights her as the next victim.
Nancy writes romance novels too! Here’s a direct link to that page of her web site.
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Shear Murder (Five Star Mystery Series)
A Bad Hair Mystery
10th in the Series
This whole series has been a lot of fun.
In this installment, Marla not only does hair for a wedding, but is a bridesmaid and finally a bride. At crunch time for her own wedding plans she is also trying to solve a murder. Marla takes multitasking to a whole new level. Dalton really understands her need to be in the middle of things and his daughter Brianna has a great relationship with Marla. I am so happy this new family is coming together.
The family dynamics at work in both Marla’s case and Jill and Torrie’s are very entertaining. Marla knows just how to handle her own relatives and her future in-laws. Torrie’s family and friends are so dysfunctional the suspects in her death are many and when the culprit was revealed this reader was quite surprised.
This is an ideal cozy mystery full of murder, mayhem, humor and romance. It is so fast paced you will read it in one sitting, just as I did. This book is definitely the perfect book to “escape into” this winter, it will warm you right up!
About This Author
Nancy J. Cohen is an award-winning author who writes romance and mysteries. Her popular Bad Hair Day series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, while Nancy’s imaginative sci-fi romances have garnered rave reviews. Her latest book, and tenth in her mystery series, is Shear Murder from Five Star. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.