Iced Chiffon (A Consignment Shop Mystery)
by Duffy Brown
Cover Artist: Julie Green
Review by Harriet Klausner
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425251607
Date: 02 October 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
In Savannah, Georgia, Hollis Beaumont and Reagan Summerside got a divorce with him getting everything due to a prenup, except for the fixer-upper Victorian Cherry House that he gave her, though she cannot afford to repair it. He quickly turned to Cupcake who was much younger than his thirtyish ex-wife. Meanwhile Reagan and her Aunt KiKi run the Prissy Fox consignment shop out of her house. To obtain funds, Reagan is selling some of her vintage clothing.
To make a delivery of a fountain to Raylene Carter, Reagan visits Hollis’ realty office to borrow his Lexus that he obtained during the divorce settlement. KiKi opens the trunk only to find no room for the fountain as there is too much "junk" inside. Reagan looks and sees the corpse of Cupcake whose head was bashed in. She tells Hollis that Janelle is dead inside his trunk. The police suspect Hollis killed her as they had a public spat in which Janell drove off leaving Hollis stranded in a parking lot.
Hollis tells Reagan he needs to sell Cherry House to his lawyer, Boone, as he has no other money to pay for a defense. Reagan refuses to give up Cherry House so taking her former spouse's word that he is innocent, she investigates the murder of Cupcake while the SPD Detective Ross seeks more evince to solidify their belief that Hollis is the killer.
The key to the first entertaining Consignment Shop Mystery is the heroine whose first person asides are amusing, such as when she sees the corpse, she says she wished Cupcake dead but not at this time and her commentaries on Hollis' lawyer Boone priceless.
Though her reason to look into Cupcake’s homicide seems a bit weak as she has no investigative experience and she seeks a murderer who has killed at least once, Reagan holds the storyline together as her inquiry is entertaining. She also receives terrific support from fully developed KiKi, Boone, and Hollis. Her bantering with the trio is humorous and fun. The rest of the support cast is solid as they add depth either to understanding the heroine or to her inquiry.
The mystery contains several viable suspects as Reagan learns the hard way with each potential killer having the means, motive, and opportunity though the placement of the corpse is what Reagan focuses on as someone had access to Hollis' car unless her ex is the killer.
Besides a fabulous look at Savannah especially the haunts of high society, Duffy Brown provides a lighthearted jocular amateur sleuth.
From the author: Duffy Brown:
Thanks for the great review of Iced Chiffon. So glad you enjoyed Reagan and the gang. Lots of fun writing these characters. Much more to come from Walker Boone.