Star Tangled Murder (Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
by Nancy J Cohen
About Star Tangled Murder
Star Tangled Murder (Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
18th in Series
Setting – Florida
Orange Grove Press (March 14, 2023)
Paperback : 284 pages
ISBN-10 : 1952886252
ISBN-13 : 978-1952886256
Digital ASIN : B0BQS68WS7
Hairstylist Marla Vail and her husband get tangled up in murder when their Fourth of July visit to a living history village ends with a bang—and a body.
Salon owner Marla Vail and her detective husband Dalton are having a blast visiting a Florida living history village over the Fourth of July weekend. But when a Seminole battle reenactment turns up a real dead body, it sets off fireworks among the villagers. One of the cast members has gone off script to murder the town marshal with a tomahawk in his head.
As Dalton gets involved in the investigation, Marla determines to help him solve the case. Her flare for uncovering secrets reveals that everyone in the village is a suspect. Instead of celebrating the holiday with red, white, and barbecues, she discovers secrets, lies, and false avenues. Did the marshal’s murder have anything to do with a lost Confederate payroll, or did his plans to renovate the park light a fuse that he couldn’t snuff out?
In a place where history comes alive, the dead bodies are piling up. Marla would rather be chilling and grilling, but somebody’s mind is on killing. If she’s not careful, her sleuthing might blow up in her face like a faulty firecracker and she’ll become the next victim.
History meets mystery as hairstylist Marla Vail and her detective husband Dalton attend a Seminole battle reenactment at a nearby living history village. They meet several costumed actors before the big event including the town marshal, Phileas Pufferfish, Millie Bleecher who was serving homemade biscuits from an outdoor oven made from a cardboard box, Simon Weedcutter, the village farmer, and more.
Many visitors came to the village to watch the exciting reenactment but when the smoke clears and visitors leave a dead body is found back in the village. Marshall Pufferfish is dead by a tomahawk to his head. One of the other actors in the village discovered him and her screams drew a crowd including Marla and Dalton and Dalton immediately takes charge.
Marla is not one to stay idle during a murder case. She is quick to question everyone she met that day and others including a long-lost relative. When another village actor is killed she turns up the heat and even takes a friend along so she can question people more in-depth. But her actions have been noticed by the killer and she may not live long enough to share her history with anyone.
Dalton and Marla are enjoying every minute they can with his daughter Briana before she leaves for college and their new son Ryder. Dalton will be retiring in just a few weeks and then he should have all kinds of time to spend with his family. I thought motherhood would slow Marla down but that sure wasn’t the case. She was involved I think more than ever. Their home life is always written in a very realistic way but to accept the sleuthing Marla does you have to suspend reality for a bit. With this 18th book, she does have plenty of experience and Dalton is fully supportive of what she does but the situations she gets herself into are downright scary and they are so much fun to read. She is sometimes like a bull in a china shop but she does seem to pull the clues together faster than anyone else.
Ms. Cohen’s descriptive writing style sets a scene so perfectly. I easily envisioned the Pioneer Village from each building to the Seminole site along with each actor’s clothing and physical traits. We have a similar site here in Wisconsin, Old World Wisconsin, that I have visited many times over the years so I was familiar with the idea and how things work which helped bring the place to life for me too.
The mystery was truly a tangled one. Did an old mystery connect to this new one? Was the marshal cookin’ the books? What was going on at the neighbor’s farm? Is a button found at the crime scene an important clue? At times I felt like everyone was just going in circles as every suspect had a motive and some kind of opportunity. I did hone in on one person fairly quickly but I didn’t have a good reason, just something about them felt off. As the story continued my theory held strong and culminated in quite a standoff.
Star Tangled Murder was full of twists, secrets, and lies making it a very compelling cozy mystery. And while all my questions about this current case were answered the final pages gave me a few more. The author leaves these characters in a really good place but I don’t think this will be the last we see of them, at least I hope not. With Dalton retired is this dynamic duo hanging up their sleuthing shoes? Is Marla really going to be content working less and keeping her nose out of everyone else’s business? Will Dalton be happy with a life full of some teaching, hobbies, and being a stay-at-home dad? I don’t think so. I am very interested to see what the author has planned.
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About Nancy J. Cohen
Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have been named Best Cozy Mystery by Suspense Magazine, won the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and the RONE Award, placed first in the Chanticleer International Book Awards and third in the Arizona Literary Awards. Her nonfiction titles, Writing the Cozy Mystery and A Bad Hair Day Cookbook, have won the FAPA President’s Book Award, the Royal Palm Literary Award, and IAN Book of the Year. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys reading, fine dining, cruising, and visiting Disney World.
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The Rest of the Series
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Great Escapes Praise for Star Tangled Murder (Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
by Nancy J Cohen
You never know when inspiration may strike, and Nancy Cohen found her inspiration for Pioneer Village (which is a real place in Florida) from Yesteryear Village. She shares some wonderful recipes at the end of the book, so you may want to whip something up before you start the mystery, because it will keep you reading until you solve the mystery.
If you enjoy a good cozy mystery with a great setting and enjoyable setting, I recommend you pick this one up.
~Carla Loves To Read
If the reader is looking for a cute mystery to entertain them, I suggest Star Tangled Murder and settle in for a fun time.
March 15 – fundinmental – REVIEW
March 15 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 17 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 17 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 18 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 19 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 19 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 20 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 21 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 22 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
March 22 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – Baroness Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 24 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 24 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”