Why can’t things ever go well? I’m Marla Vail, a hairstylist and salon owner in sunny South Florida. All I want is to settle into a happy life with my new husband and stepdaughter. But unfortunately, I have the habit of stumbling onto dead bodies on a fairly regular basis. This doesn’t please Dalton, my homicide detective husband. Even his daughter is turning into a teenage amateur sleuth helping us solve crimes.
My new day spa was getting off to a great start, and all was calm one morning until I heard screams coming from next-door. I was working at my station, where I do clients full-time even though I own the place. Everyone froze as shrieks rent the air. The horrible noises appeared to be coming from our adjacent day spa.
My pulse racing, I dashed over there. The receptionist hovered by one of the treatment rooms where a client had been getting a facial. I couldn’t believe it when the aesthetician told me her customer was dead. I peeked inside the room and gasped at the green cream mask that had hardened on the woman’s face. My heart dropped to my toes as a brief survey told me CPR wouldn’t help.
As we waited for rescue personnel to arrive, I considered the ramifications. Valerie Weston, the dead lady, volunteered for Friends of Old Florida, a historical building preservation society. Val was a major benefactor who sponsored their annual fundraiser. My staff was scheduled to work on the models’ hair that night at the fashion show. Would the event be cancelled in the wake of their patron’s death?
I dreaded what my husband would say. Dalton would surely arrive on the heels of the EMTs. What would he think when he discovered I’d stumbled onto another dead body?
Here’s how our subsequent conversation went:
“What happened?” Dalton asked.
“Rosana was giving her customer a facial. She put on the woman’s face mask and left the room for a few minutes. When she returned, the lady wasn’t breathing.”
“Can I speak with Rosana somewhere private?”
“Sure. How come you’re here? Did you recognize the address from the dispatcher?”
“That’s right. Good guess.” The corners of his mouth lifted. This was far from the first time he’d been summoned to my place of business.
“We can use one of the empty massage rooms,” Rosana suggested in a weak tone.
After I’d introduced the aesthetician to my husband, I patted the woman’s shoulder. “It’ll be all right. Dalton will ask you some questions, and then you can take the rest of the day off. We’ll notify your clients.”
Dalton pulled out a notebook and pen and followed Rosana into another treatment room. I joined them, intending to offer moral support to our staff member. To my gratitude, Dalton didn’t object. But then, he’d come to value my contributions. He had even identified me as his unofficial sidekick to an Arizona sheriff during our recent honeymoon.
Not one to stand idly by, I consoled Rosana, spoke to each of the customers who stood by watching the commotion, and asked the receptionist to reschedule all upcoming appointments. Someone had to keep their cool, and as usual, it was me.
After hearing this earful, you might want to find another hairstylist. But please give our salon a chance. We’ll give you a discount on your next appointment. Besides, you have to admit the Cut ’N Dye Salon is always Action Central. Have a bouffant day, and I’ll see you next time you’re in town.
You can read more about Marla in Facials Can Be Fatal, the 13th book in the “Bad Hair Day” mystery series.
During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, was a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans. Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the suspects. As she learns more about Val, she realizes the benefactress might have stumbled onto secrets others would kill to keep. She’d better prepare for a body count that has nothing to do with hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.
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About the author
Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, and won third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, she is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.
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All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win an e-book copy of Permed to Death (Bad Hair Day Mystery #1) revised Author’s Edition. The giveaway ends February 24, 2017. Good luck everyone!
Facial Can Be Fatal is available at retail and online booksellers.