Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Trimmed to Death - Cozy Mystery

Rating: Good
Source: Author

Savvy hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, Marla joins a scavenger hunt where people playing character roles are the targets. Instead of scoring points with a live person, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field. Who would want to cut short the life of food magazine publisher and fellow bake-off contestant Francine Dodger? As she investigates, Marla learns there’s no shortage of suspects. A celebrity TV chef, food critic, olive oil importer, food truck owner, pastry chef, and cookbook author may be stirring up more than their next recipe. Can Marla unmask the killer before someone else gets trimmed from life? 

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've enjoyed other books in this series and there's no way I can resist a bake-off - even a fictional one!

My Impression:
  This is the 3rd book I've read in this series featuring salon owner Marla and her police detective husband, Dalton and definitely my favorite of the three.  While I always enjoy Marla's time in the salon I really enjoyed the foodie focus of this one.  One of my pet peeves in a cozy is when the main character is an expert on everything even a subject that they have never previously shown an interest in.  I found it really nice that the author didn't do this with Marla.  Yes, she can cook but she didn't know everything that there was to know about olive oil or farm to table sourcing and wasn't afraid to admit it.  That changed the dynamic from the main character going into info dump mode to explain to the reader what they, as experts on everything, already know to the reader learning about these things right along with Marla.

This was a mystery with a lot of stuff going on.  There are a lot of threads in this murder investigation.  The possibilities and suspects are many and each one seems as valid as the next.  I enjoyed seeing where each lead went and how it fleshed out the story.  Marla is a busy woman with all the leads she chases down as well as planning a fundraiser at her salon that sounded pretty amazing!  Not everything is perfect.  I did have to suspend belief a bit for just how much Dalton allowed Marla to help in the investigation.  It didn't bother me too much as it did keep the story moving and gave the reader a front row seat to the interrogations.  There are also times when it feels like the characters are overexplaining a bit or the description is more than necessary which can make the dialogue feel a bit stilted at times.  None of these were enough to really both me or keep me from enjoying the book.

This is a fun cozy series with a well developed cast of characters.  The mystery was well done and I really love the hair dresser angle especially since it's mixed with a police connection.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm excited to see what happens next in Marla's world!

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy cozies you'll enjoy this series!

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful review!

  2. I've thought about reading this series, but I just haven't picked it up yet. Glad you enjoyed it, and I'll keep that in mind next time I'm considering one of her books!

    1. I hope you'll give my series a try, Lark! Permed to Death is number one if you want to start there.

  3. I've dipped into this series at different points. It would be fun to start and go through it from the beginning.

  4. I hope you are reading your comment notifications because I need your address again. It took me so long to find that ARC to send you that your email was buried, in fact I don't even remember what email I had you send it to. 😛 So, if you could send it again to lalainthelibrary(at)gmail(dot)com, I'm going to the post office today (Thursday). 👍✨

  5. I'd be sold on Maria from the idea that she doesn't know everything and admits it. A special kind of character!

    1. Nobody knows everything so I hope I've portrayed Marla realistically.

  6. I'm definitely going to go buy this series first chance I get.