Thursday, June 14, 2012
REVIEW: Just Murdered by Elaine Viets
Author: Elaine Viets
Publication Date: May, 2005
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Description: When Helen Hawthorne takes a job at upscale Millicent's Bridal Salon, she expects to see some sentimental tears as brides pick out their gowns. But when a rich, obnoxious mother-of-the-bride named Kiki is killed, it seems most of the tears are fake. When Helen's fingerprints are found on the murder weapon---a wedding dress---she must solve the case to prove her innocence.
Is the murderer Kiki's money strapped ex-husband? The bride, who finally got tired of letting Mom run the show? Or one of the boy toys promised a million dollars in the will? Helen better find out quick---and make sure Kiki's funeral outfit doesn't clash with the groom's mother's...
My Thoughts: Just Murdered finds Helen now working at a bridal boutique and neck deep in all the drama that the wedding dress selection entails. While reading this, I found myself visualizing a television program I have enjoyed watching called “Say Yes to the Dress.” Several times on this show, the bride’s mother (usually) moves Heaven and Earth to try to upstage the bride. A lot of fighting and arguments ensue, sometimes shouting matches even, and always lots of tears. The same can be said of this book. But unlike the TV show, the mother of the bride is murdered and the murder weapon is none other than a bridal gown!
Sadly, out of all the tears that are shed, none are for the victim. I have to say, I wasn’t crying over her demise either. The victim is a rich, arrogant tramp who makes out with her chauffeur on the street in plain sight of anyone walking by. She’s condescending to Helen and her employer, Millicent. She’s rude to just about everyone. She’s cold and cruel to her daughter. She’s vindictive to her ex-husband. Personally, I expected a horde of people lining up to kill this woman. Unfortunately for Helen, the police seem to be focused on her as their prime suspect since her fingerprints are all over the wedding gown. Frankly, the law enforcement element in this book leaves a lot to be desired. I found myself thinking throughout the book, “Hello, Detective, OF COURSE Helen’s fingerprints are on the gown, you nit-wit, she works for the bridal boutique and is helping to dress the bride!” Helen even emphasizes this fact to them, but they seem to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic, so of course, Helen is going to have to figure out who the killer is on her own.
Helen’s new man in her life won’t be much help either. Apparently, his wife that nobody, especially Helen, knew about has shown up for an unexpected visit and Helen is livid. I thought she handled the entire situation poorly. If she would have taken 5 minutes to listen to him, the entire mess could have been resolved. There is an interesting scene where Helen finds herself on the receiving end of some embarrassment when she tries to surprise Phil but his wife one-ups her. Frankly, I could have done without this story line. Helen’s luck with relationships is a big fat zero so to my way of thinking, she should just focus on keeping her rent paid and feeding herself and her cat, Thumbs. Helen’s near obsession with the whole thing was over the top and was distracting her from focusing on finding out who the killer is. Since I’m not all that thrilled with the Phil relationship anyway, I couldn’t care less if he’s married. Helen shouldn’t be throwing rocks from inside her glass house anyway. She’s got lots of secrets herself that she hasn’t been forthcoming with anyone about. Pot and kettle and all that.
I’m still invested in this series, though I’m not sure why. Maybe Phil will grow on me and Helen might actually get herself on track and get her past resolved so she can focus on a smooth future. In the meantime, she manages to muddle her way through, finds the killer without getting herself killed or at the very least, seriously hurt. There are currently eleven books in this series, so I haven’t even gotten halfway through yet. A lot can happen between now and then. I can say with absolute certainty that I enjoyed this dead-end job better than her last one. Helen’s next job is at a pet boutique so I’m hopeful that this series hasn’t yet gone to the dogs.
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