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Friday, November 9, 2012

Died With A Bow by Grace Carroll

⇧ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for the full issue ⇧
Cynthia Chow

Check out details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this review & interview.

"Rita was selfish and self-centered. She couldn't cook to save her life, but she was a wonderful salesman. Clothes were her passion, and she was devoted to her job. Until it was taken away from her. Though accused of a heinous crime, two in fact, Rita wouldn't hurt a fly. She was kind and generous to a fault. Rita had many friends, among them her well-dressed customers, three good-looking men and a self-proclaimed vampire."

That imaginary self-written epitaph excellently sums up the life of Rita Jewel, a recent transplant from Ohio and new resident of the fashionable San Francisco. By the end of the previous novel of this debut series, Shoe Done It, life was definitely on an upswing for Rita Jewel. Not only was she was working in her dream job at Dolce, a trendy clothing boutique in San Francisco, but she also had three very attractive men vying for her attention. Unfortunately, the police detective, the ER doctor, and the former Olympic gymnast have all recently gone AWOL and a new salesgirl at Dolce is racking up commissions in the front of the store while Rita is relegated to sorting through boxes of accessories. Even the opportunity to attend a ritzy fundraiser becomes a downer when the beautiful new salesgirl and rich socialite Vienna Fairchild arrives in a beautiful gown and outbids everyone for a date with the ultimate bachelor Doctor Jonathon Rhodes, who just happened to be Rita's Dr. Jonathan. Oddly enough though, before leaving the event Vienna gives Rita her winning ticket before rushing out with the exclamation that her boyfriend would not approve.

Image source: Penguin

Unfortunately, that ticket and Rita's envy of Vienna serve Rita up as a primary suspect when she discovers Vienna's body on the floor at Dolce. Now, of course, is when the previously elusive Detective Jack Wall makes his reappearance and he's just as interested in arresting Rita as he is in dating her. Infuriated and determined to prove the Detective wrong, Rita begins to unravel the secrets in Vienna's life, which include a twin sister, a crazy uncle, a greedy stepmother, a jealous roommate, and a missing necklace. In between meddling in the investigation Rita now once again juggles dates between her three suitors, one of whom unfortunately has an aunt who claims to be a Romanian vampire.

While Rita believes that she has the skills and intelligence to outwit the police, the author with a tongue-in-cheek makes Rita a very unreliable narrator and has no illusions about her protagonist’s incompetence as a detective. Rita's knowledge of fashion and designers, on the other hand, proves to be extensive and her contemplation over what to wear on dates or to a funeral consumes as much of her thought processes as the murder. The funeral for the victim is as much an opportunity to interrogate suspects as it is a chance to look appropriately stylish. Rita drops fashion brand names at the drop of a hat, and readers should be prepared for more deliberation over accessories than occurs on an episode of Project Runway. While Rita believes fashion can remedy all of the world problems, the novel itself never takes itself too seriously and lets the reader in on the joke that the only way that Rita can solve the mystery will be for her to literally stumble over the solution.

To enter to win a copy of Died With A Bow , simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Bow”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 17, 2012. U.S. residents only.

Click here to purchase Died With A Bow from Mysterious Galaxy & you will be helping support an indie bookstore & Kings River Life:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

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