Friday, November 17, 2006

High Heels Are Murder - Elaine Viets

High Heels Are Murder
Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper
Elaine Viets


You’d think that being a mystery shopper sent to a high-end shoe boutique would be a pretty posh assignment. In this case, you’d be incorrect. Josie Marcus is getting bonus pay for this job. The store’s management has been getting some complaints about their top salesman, Mel Poulaine. It seems that Mel likes shoes. A lot. A whole lot. So, Josie’s job, in addition to trying on fabulous shoes she can’t keep, is to figure out if there’s really something off about Mel. When she catches him in the storeroom, about to defile her blameless secondhand Prada pumps, her subsequent report leads, naturally, to the termination of Mel’s employment.

While all that would make for an amusing story, things get serious the very next day when Josie sees a newspaper article, detailing Mel’s violent death. As it turns out, Mel lived in a very exclusive area where houses start at a couple million. How could a shoe salesman afford the house, and the housekeeper who found his body? It isn’t long before the snoop of Josie’s neighborhood, Mrs. Mueller, is at Josie’s door. Mrs. Mueller has always disliked Josie, and holds up her daughter, Cheryl, as a woman living a perfect, upscale, married life. To Josie’s chagrin, her own mother agrees with this assessment. But karma works in mysterious ways. Mrs. Mueller wants Josie’s help. It seems that Cheryl is linked to Mel, possibly in a romantic relationship, and she’s the prime suspect in his death.

This is the second in this highly entertaining series, and works quite well as a standalone novel. Josie’s reactions to Cheryl’s problems, after a lifetime of living in her shadow, are absolutely realistic. Josie is a great character; believable, likeable, a single mom working to give her daughter the best in life, and coming to understand her own mother in the process. The mystery moves from the upper echelons of St. Louis society to some very seedy places, keeping readers guessing as to the final outcome. The author alternates between the case, Josie’s home life, and her work, which sometimes makes the pacing a bit uneven, but all in all, the book doesn’t suffer for that. And, for shoe lovers, there are some great tips included to help you shop for, and find, that elusive ‘perfect’ shoe.

Rating: 7 ½
November 2006
ISBN# 0-451-21988-0 (paperback)


Post a Comment

<< Home