Polished Off by Lila Dare is the second book in the “Southern Beauty Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), February 2011

St. Elizabeth, Georgia, offers charm, Southern hospitality—and an occasional dollop of mayhem. Now, hairdresser Grace Terhune has to save a beauty pageant that’s fallen victim to the ugliness of murder.

It’s business as usual at Violetta’s salon, until Audrey Faye sashays in looking for stylists for the Miss Magnolia Blossom pageant. Grace jumps at the opportunity, but on her first day she finds a theater full of anti-pageant protestors, angry mothers, frantic contestants and an aloof Audrey. Even Violetta’s manicurist, Stella, is acting strangely.

Then, during the talent portion, protestors storm the stage—and Audrey Faye is found dead, murdered with a nail file. It turns out Audrey was having an affair with Stella’s husand, which makes Stella a prime suspect. Now, Grace and Violetta’s beauticians must find the real murderer before Stella is polished off permanently.

Taking on a hairstylist job at the local beauty pageant, Grace didn’t think she’ll have anything to worry about except styling hair until she discovers the dead body of the beauty pageant director. When Stella’s husband, who was having an affair with the deceased, becomes the primary suspect, Grace believing in his innocence, will do anything to bring the killer to justice. This was a good mystery with plenty of action involving Grace’s friends. I loved the tone of the story, so laid-back it made me smile as I continue my reading; the various local setting gave me a view of St. Elizabeth and the crisp dialogue made me feel more than welcomed. With a southern feel, this was an enjoyable read and I look forward to the next adventures with Grace and friends.

Lila Dare is the pseudonym of Laura DiSilverio

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

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