Handbags and Homicide by Dorothy Howell is the first in the new “Haley Randolph” cozy mystery series.  Publisher: Kensington, July 2008

Witty, smart, and always chic-to-die despite a less than glam checking account balance, Haley Randolph has it all–Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Coach, Burberry–and she’d kill for the newest Louis Vuitton handbag. It seems she’s not the only one. When someone’s passion for designer purses leads to murder, Haley goes shopping for a killer to clear her name…

According to Haley Randolph, you can never have enough handbags. She has one for every occasion, but that doesn’t mean she won’t go to any lengths to get the latest Louis Vuitton. Unfortunately for Haley, her life goes from glam to grim when her passion for fashion outlasts her credit cards, and she’s forced to work during the holiday season at Holt’s–a mid-market department store that doesn’t even stock designer labels much to her horror.

Looking for a bit of shopping inspiration, Haley abandons the sales floor and sneaks into the stock room to get a first glimpse of Holt’s ultra-fab holiday promotion–a one-of-a-kind selection of handbag styles. But instead of the newest Vuitton, Haley discovers her boss is the ultimate fashion victim. He’s face-down in lingerie–stone-cold dead.

According to the security tapes, Haley was the only person in the stockroom before, during, and after the murder. With everyone in the store eyeing her like last season’s Marc Jacobs, Haley turns to the hunky Ty Cameron, who heads up the store’s loss prevention unit, to help her investigate the murder.

In a race to clear her rep, Haley’s knowledge of hot trends will take her from the sales floor to the boardroom to the gritty streets of L.A.’s Garment District. Now, Haley must find a killer with impeccable fashion taste…and get her hands on that perfectly checkered Louis Vuitton bag before time runs out…

Haley Randolph is a twenty-something young woman living in California. Her one vice is her love of designer handbags and she will do anything to have it.  She takes a second job to pay for this vice and stumbles upon a murder and becomes a suspect.  In the meantime, she is put on administrative leave at her full-time job accused of embezzling.  We first see Hayley as a self-centered young lady who grows up and take stock of her life and in the end I’m happy to see that maturity.  I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

*new-to-me author

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