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Permed to Death by Nancy J. Cohen
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Pretty good first in a series. I had a few quibbles, the biggest one being a bit to far on the TSTL scale. Marla is the owner of a hair salon who is being blackmailed into providing free perms to a very nasty woman named Bertha. When Bertha ends up dead in one of Marla's chairs, the heat is on because she is a prime suspect.

The characters are all very good, and I love Detective Dalton Vail. I will be reading more in the series because I think this series will only get better. ( )
  bookswoman | Sep 28, 2015 |
Permed to Death by Nancy J. Cohen is the first book in the Bad Hair Day Mystery series. Marla Shore owns Cut ‘N Dye Beauty Salon in South Florida. She opened up her shop two hours early to accommodate Bertha Kravitz. Ms. Kravitz has been a customer for the last eight years. She insisted she had to have a perm today for a special event. Marla put her hair in rollers along with the solution. Bertha insisted upon a cup of coffee (fresh) with powdered creamer (the only customer who uses it). Marla then goes into the back for some supplies. She hears a strangling noise and quickly returns to the front. Bertha is slumped over and dead. Marla checks for a pulse and smells something similar to marzipan (which is made from almonds). Marla quickly calls the police. Detective Vail shows up and starts asking questions.

Marla is upset to be questioned by the police because of an incident that happened when she was nineteen. Marla also hopes that no one finds the envelope of photos that Bertha had and was using to blackmail Marla. Marla is determined to find out who killed Bertha. She feels it is her responsibility because Bertha was in her shop and she wants to save her reputation. Marla sets off asking questions and finding out who wanted Bertha dead (it is not a short list). Marla gets threatening notes, phones calls, and poisoned chocolates, but she persists (even after Detective Dalton Vail asks her to stop). Dalton is interested in Marla, but they cannot date until after the case is closed (not that Marla is very encouraging). Will Marla be able to stay alive (and out of jail) long enough to solve the case? Who will get their hands on Marla’s photos and what type of photographs are they (I am sure we can guess)?

I have to give Permed to Death 3 out of 5 stars. It is an okay book. The one thing I did not like about the book was that the murder happens immediately. I wish the author had built up the story just a little bit before killing off Bertha Kravitz. I also did not really like Marla. She does not come across as a likable person (I preferred the detective). Marla is abrupt in her conversations and strings men along especially when she wants something from them. The writing is just so-so in the book. The mystery was very simple despite the author’s attempts to make it complicated (it just did not work).

I received a complimentary copy of Permed to Death from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Aug 16, 2015 |
Someone hadn't been too pleased she was home, safe and dry. Someone who didn't wish her well.

I love a good cozy mystery and am always up for reading them so I was excited when I was approved on Netgalley to read this book. Unfortunately for me I had problems with this from the beginning. Between a main character that I didn't like, typos and errors throughout the book, and a predictable mystery this book is not high on my list of favorite cozies.

From the start I didn't really like Marla. In the beginning she kept mentioning some incident from her past (going on and on about it) without really going into detail. Once it was revealed what happened I did understand why she was still so traumatized. I didn't like how she kept budding in on the investigation. At times it felt like she was bumbling about. Honestly the answer to the mystery was right in front of her face and the fact that it took her so long to figure it out didn't really help me like her all that much.

I was wary about this book after I read the first chapter and there were more typos than I would have liked to have been in a whole book. One specific typo that I noticed a lot was "die" being substituted for "the." It was a bit confusing at first but then I got used to the typos. This could have used more editing.

Altogether this was a bit of a disappointment. The answer to the mystery was so obvious that I felt certain that I was just being lead to believe it and that there would be a big twist at the end but to me there was no twist. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley. ( )
  dpappas | Jun 9, 2015 |
Beauty Salon owner Marla Shore is more than a little upset when one of her customers, Bertha Kravitz, dies after drinking coffee containing poisoned powdered creamer. Not only is she afraid she'll lose her customers, but the police, especially Detective Dalton Vail, seem to think she's the murderer, since she was the only one with Bertha when she died and Marla is the one that gave her the coffee. Marla is afraid that the police will discover that she had more than one reason to kill Bertha and not look for the real murderer, so she begins to investigate the case herself. Marla finds lots of suspects - Bertha wasn't a likeable person and had many enemies - but she needs to convince Detective Vail. In the meantime, as she investigates the murder, she also has to confront a few demons of her own - a tragic death in her past, a foolish mistake when she was young, and a failed marriage.

"Permed to Death" was a disappointing mystery. Marla was an unsympathetic and unlikable character, far too judgmental and abrupt with people. Even the tragic accident failed to make her sympathetic, perhaps because it was mentioned too often in the book. Her dwelling on people's appearances, especially their hair cuts, was mean spirited and got old very quickly. She's also not one of the brightest characters ever written - Bertha dies from poison and yet, when someone anonymously leaves Marla a box of candy, she almost eats it! The other characters don't come off much better and Marla's friend Tally, with her obsession about food, is especially obnoxious. Detective Vail is also poorly written, asking Marla out when she is still the chief suspect and he even takes her along with him to help investigate the murder - truly unbelievable. As for the mystery itself, while there are plenty of suspects in Bertha's death, it's pretty easy for readers to narrow down who the murderer is.

While I liked the beauty salon setting, "Permed to Death" was not a great mystery. ( )
1 vote drebbles | Jan 15, 2010 |
Incredibly laborious to read. The book plod, plod, plods through minutiae and scenic details that add nothing to the ambiance or the plot of the story. Unbelievable "investigating" by the main character. She approaches suspects and says, "Hi! Where were you on the night so and so was killed?" Smooth. Subtle. And astoundingly, every suspect answers and only then says, "Hey! Are you investigating a murder? Do you think I am a suspect?"

Here is an example of the plodding writing and characterization: the main character needs to seek out a lawyer to stop being evicted, and she wrings her hands and says, "But I don't know any lawyer I can trust!" And only when the deadline to be evicted draws near does she find a lawyer, who, wow! gives her some good advice.

The romance aspect of this story is forced and unenjoyable.

The reader is in the main character's head the entire time, and yet a big secret about her isn't revealed until 193 pages in. This type of withholding info to facilitate a "surprise" annoys me and is weak storytelling. We know in excruciating detail everything about what she wears (pantsuits! in Florida!), what everyone else wears, whole paragraphs devoted to interrupting the flow of dialogue to demonstrate her driving skills, and yet this secret she is ashamed of is constantly alluded to and only revealed so late in the game that I don't care about it. Argh! ( )
1 vote MelindaLibrary | Mar 27, 2009 |
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A murder mystery in a hair salon featuring its owner, Marla Shore. It begins when one of her customers is poisoned by the coffee Marla served. Someone slipped cyanide into the artificial creamer.

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