A Day in the Life with Hairstylist Marla Vail by Nancy J. Cohen

Peril by PonytailOur honeymoon at an Arizona dude ranch isn’t going as well as I’d hoped. Coming from the tropical beauty of South Florida, I had barely begun to adjust to the scenic Sonoran Desert when a local forest ranger falls off a cliff to his death. Why should this matter to me and my husband, Dalton? Dalton is a homicide detective back home. He also happens to be nephew to the resort’s owner, and Uncle Ray is caught up in this mess. Somebody has been sabotaging the dude ranch and the ghost town he’s renovating. These incidents have been escalating since our arrival. Is someone trying to put Ray out of business? Dalton sniffs a case, and that means he won’t let go until justice is served. Where does this leave me? Dryer than a sand dune in the desert heat.

Oh, we have our moments. Dalton is one hunk of a guy, and we steal every minute together we can get…even if it’s on a horse. I need a few more riding lessons before I’m up to speed. Let’s just say I’d rather mount my husband than a wild beast.

I must say I’m curious about what skeletons Uncle Ray is hiding in his proverbial closet. So one morning, I make it my business to approach the veterinarian at the ranch. Over by the corral, I spy an older guy wearing a brown cowboy hat, a tweed sport coat over a tan dress shirt, jeans, and ankle-high boots. My gaze drops to the black leather satchel in his hand.

“We’re looking for the vet,” I said. “Would that be you, by any chance?”

“You guessed right, young lady. I’m Doc Harrigan, as they call me around here.”

“We’re Marla and Dalton Vail from Florida. Dalton is Wayne’s cousin. We’re on our honeymoon and are staying at the ranch, thanks to Wayne’s invitation.”

“I recall hearing mention of relatives from the east coast.”

“Do you have a minute to talk to us? I understand you’ve known the family for a long time, and we’re interested in the history.”

You wouldn’t believe the bombshell he drops on us. Folks are right to suspect Dalton’s sneaky Uncle Ray of hiding a secret. But would he sabotage his own ranch and the ghost town project? Or is somebody else the culprit?

Now I’m as intent as Dalton on finding the bad guy. So much for our honeymoon. I need to rustle up my sleuthing skills, hop in the saddle, and get on the trail of this crook before he hurts anyone else.


You can read more about Marla in Peril by Ponytail, the 12th book in the “Bad Hair Day” mystery series, published by Five Star Publishing. The first book in the series is Permed To Death.

About Peril by Ponytail, a Bad Hair Day Mystery
Hoping for a romantic honeymoon at an Arizona dude ranch, hairstylist Marla Vail and her husband Dalton arrive to find a series of mishaps plaguing the resort. A nearby ghost town is suffering similar problems. Is it mere coincidence that Dalton’s Uncle Raymond owns both properties? When Raymond asks for their help in finding the culprit, Marla and Dalton eagerly accept. Then news of a local forest ranger’s death raises the stakes.

With sleuthing more natural to Marla than horseback riding, she delves into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she discovers skeletons in the family closet. Someone means to drive Raymond out of business, and the reason may be linked to his past misdeeds. Raymond isn’t the only one with secrets. The trail leads Marla from an environmental activist group to saguaro poachers to water rights proponents to an abandoned copper mine beneath the ghost town. She’d better saddle up, rein in the clues, and find the killer before she becomes the next spirit inhabiting the haunted hillside.

View the Book Trailer

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Friday, September 25 for the chance to win a print copy of Shear Murder. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring hairdresser Marla Vail, who solves NancyJCohen PubPinkcrimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Nancy is also the author of Writing the Cozy Mystery, a valuable instructional guide on how to write a winning whodunit. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys fine dining, theme parks, cruising, and outlet shopping.

Reach out to Nancy at the following:
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34 comments

  1. I’m looking forward to reading this book … sounds like a good read. Thank you for this chance. 🙂

  2. Thank you for having me here, Dru Ann! I hope y’all will give my book a try. I loved doing the research for this title. I went to all the places in the story. It was a memorable trip to Arizona.

  3. Love Marla and the whole series! This will be another fun read! 🙂 Thanks Dry for featuring it today and to you and Nancy for another generous opportunity to win a book! 🙂

  4. Never read any of your books. This sounds like something I would love to read. Love mystery and romance genre. Will have to try.

  5. Great series. Just finished Hanging By A Hair and can’t wait to read this one.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  6. I was fortunate at the dude ranch to speak to different individuals who were helpful with information, I particularly enjoyed the naturalist who had formally been a forest ranger. The most fascinating experience was definitely the copper mine, with ghost hunting at the haunted hotel coming in a close second.

  7. Dude Ranch and murder? Yeah! I love the synopsis…I’m in! I’ve “Liked” Nancy’s FB page, and exploring all of her books. Thanks for the introduction!

  8. I loved the book trailer. The forest ranger killed looks like Jimmy Fallon! He does a segment where he ‘reenacts’ photos sent in & does a split screen shot. That’d be great publicity for the book too. Hmm. Thanks for the chance for the giveaway.

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