If the Shoe Kills
A Tourist Trap Mystery #3
Kensington Books, November 2014
From the publisher—
The tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .
As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liasion for a new work program, ’tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops. . .
I’m ashamed to admit that I read this l-o-n-g ago and never got around to writing a review, not because I hated it or had a beef with the author but because, well, I just sort of kept pushing it down the to-review list until it kind of became an embarrassment. I decided to woman up and get it done, finally, and I discovered an interesting thing—I remember it, remember it quite well. Now, that may be SOP for many of you but, except for a handful of standouts that are implanted in my brain, I usually need some sort of prompt to remind me, whether it be the description on the book jacket or a mention of something in someone else’s review. None of that was needed this time.
What, exactly, does that mean? Well, it means I think this is a really enjoyable cozy, one with memorable characters—book and coffee shop owner Jill and her “boy toy”, Detective Greg King, the Martha Stewart-ish Aunt Jackie and the overbearing Mayor Baylor along with many others—and a town I wouldn’t mind living in. The charitable project that riles everyone up is a worthy one that could work in real life and the potential motivations for the inevitable murder actually make sense. Jill herself has some validity in sleuthing and, thank heavens, she doesn’t fall into the TSTL trap.
As for the mystery itself, I have to say this is pretty darned good, causing me to go in one direction and another until I figured it out but that wasn’t until near the end so, all in all, this is a cozy mystery I can happily recommend to anyone looking for a well-done puzzle. Since it took me so long to get around to reviewing this, there are more books out in the series; as it happens, I have #1 in the series so I think I’ll start from the beginning 😉
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2017.