A Little Background: It’s amazing what you can find at book sales. Take this little paperback I found by an author I was not familiar with, Elaine Viets. I was attracted to the cover, picked it up and realized it was a cozy mystery – my favorite! I thought it was time to investigate a new series.
Book Description: Murder with All the Trimmings by Elaine Viets
Meet Josie Marcus, like all single moms, she is a juggler. Not only is she a mom to 9-year old Amelia, Josie works as a mystery shopper (oh, the bane of my existence when I worked in hotels). She has a creepy boss, a nice enough boyfriend (that comes with baggage), a mother with antiquated ideas who lives one floor above her, a snoopy neighbor, and an ex-love (Amelia’s dad) who comes visiting after being released from…jail.
It’s just another day as Josie picks up Amelia from school. Unfortunately, it’s a day that quickly heads south when Amelia asks to see her mom’s wedding pictures. To paraphrase, this will turn out to be…a day that will live in infamy. One small problem, Josie and Amelia’s father were never wed. Josie has also told her daughter that her father is dead. Fast forward to later that evening when one not so dead father turns up at Josie’s front door having just been released from prison on a technicality. Carumba!
Mike, Josie’s current boyfriend, is trying to support his ex wife’s new business, a year round Christmas store that’s slightly X-rated. Add to the mix Mike’s surly teenage daughter and his desire for a happy blended family. Listen, don’t start singing The Brady Bunch theme song just yet!
The holidays are in full swing, and the plot thickens as one of the businesses Josie is assigned to “shop” is Mike’s ex-wife’s shop. The religious community is up in arms with the slightly porno Christmas shop and one of the protestors is “accidentally” injured in front of the shop by falling snow and ice from the shop’s roof. If that’s not enough, two people take seriously ill after eating a holiday cake in a competing “legitimate” Christmas shop. What is going on?
My Take: What I especially enjoyed about this tome, was the story could very well be a slice of a real woman’s life. Our lives seem sometimes to be a jumble of this and that and we are always in a multi tasking mode just like Josie. I am constantly amazed at how mom’s always manage to cope. Speaking of which, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mom’s out there, especially my mom! You’re awesome!
Meet the Author:
Elaine Viets put her journalism degree to good use as a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for twenty-five years. She also hosted an Emmy Awarding winning local light news program called Viets Beat in 1989-1990. Her career sent her on to Washington, DC where sh wrote a syndicated column carried by United Feature Syndicate and later by United Media. She now resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where she writes her best-selling cozy mysteries. In April 2007, Viets suffered a stroke but has recovered and is still writing. The author is an Agatha Award and Anthony Award winner and is a contributor on The Lipstick Chronicles. You can visit Viets at her website and follow her on Facebook.