Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dying in Style by Elaine Viets

Dying in Style by Elaine Viets
Copyright 2005
Signet Fiction
268 pages, incl. shopping tips

"What about you, Josie?" Ivy said. "Do you have trouble getting good help?"
Josie studied Ivy's bland, blond face for
signs of malice, but didn't see any. The silly twit thought everyone had household help.
"My cleaning lady is so lazy," Josie said. "I ask her to do things, but she always has an excuse why she can't. I'm lucky she runs the vacuum cleaner and dusts. I can't fire her. She's a single mom."

Both Barrington mothers nodded their sypathy.

I'd love to fire me, Josie thought. I sure can't get me to clean the place.

Dying in Style is my first read for the Cozy Challenge hosted by Kris at Not Enough Books. In Dying in Style, professional mystery shopper Josie Marcus goes shopping at the exclusive Danessa stores in order to inform a potential buyer whether or not the investment would be worth their money. She does her job and then finds herself in a big mess when three people are murdered, shortly after Josie is confronted by Danessa. Josie looks guilty, so she must find the murderer in order to get herself off the hook.

I'm not really a big fan of mysteries, these days (I've gone through an awful lot of phases) but I really enjoy Elaine Viets. Her characters have a sense of humor and, as her books are of the "cozy" variety, there are never any overly nasty, graphic descriptions. Dying in Style is light reading, almost chick-littish in style and a nice, escapist read. I believe this particular book is the first in the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series. It includes a "Josie's shopping secrets", a brief guide to buying at reasonable prices.

Thumbs Up. Very fun; and I plan to continue reading the series.

Yes, that's my rating. I haven't been feeling much like handing out numbers, lately. We'll see if that lasts.

As usual, I'm in the midst of the mom routine. Here are my pics of the day, so far:

All of the above were just snapped when I dropped off kiddo at the pool. If anyone can tell me of the name of the plant with the red blooms, it would be much appreciated. I need to plant one!! I watched that hummingbird, yesterday, as I was waiting for kiddo, sans camera. He only showed up briefly, while I was watching for him, but it's exciting to find a plant that attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies. I'm still learning where to locate critters to photograph, you know.

*UPDATE* - Jenclair has informed me that the plant in question is Turk's Cap. Thank you, Jenclair!!!

Still reading Garden Spells and Haunted Castles of the World, both of which I'm enjoying. Hope to finish Garden Spells by tomorrow, so that should be my next review.

Just FYI, Elaine Viets recommends totes from Strand Bookstore in her shopping tips. She says Gwyneth Paltrow carries a Strand tote (and they're affordable), so if you want to pretend you're a star, you can find the tote here.

Off to fetch the kiddo. Would someone in a cool climate please send me a breeze? Thank you in advance.

Bookfool, who has completely melted into a book-loving puddle


  1. Beautiful photographs! The plant is Turk's Cap, an easy plant to grow, but it must be kept in check or it will take over. Hummingbirds love it.

    :) I know that cleaning lady!

  2. Jenclair,

    Thank you!!! I'll read up on Turk's Cap. We have things taking over, all over the place, anyway, so if I can just find a corner with the right amount of sunlight required it'll work out great. The butterflies seem to love it, too. That's my kind of plant. :)

    You can probably guess why I chose that particular quote. It describes me a little too well. LOL

  3. I have a few of Elaine Viets books on my shelf, but I haven't yet read them. I definitely must do that! You make Dying in Style sould really good. :-)

    The photos are gorgeous, Nancy!

  4. Wendy,

    I have a feeling you'd really enjoy her books, since you like mystery and humor combined. Cool that you already have them on your shelf, so you can just dig in, any time!!

    Thank you. I think this was a lucky day at the pool. There were many lovely flying things around. :)

  5. Sounds like a great book -- and I love the pictures!

  6. Tristi,

    While it's not my favorite genre, I really enjoy this particular author and definitely recommend the book. And, thank you. :)

  7. Great pictures! Glad jenclair knew the plant - I can distinguish daisies and roses.

    Nice book bags at the Strand but I think I'll stick w/my Powell's tote for now. It'll be the next big thing.

  8. Thank you, Carrie. I'm still learning plant names. I only began to garden sort of seriously about 4 or 5 years ago. Till then, I let the heat and mosquitoes drive me indoors. There came a point that I decided, "I'm never going to move, so I might as well make the place look inviting." LOL

    I don't think I have a Powell's tote, but I have plenty of totes, around here. I think I have a Books-a-Million. Impressive, right? I know, you just fell over, laughing. Well, okay, then . . . I have an utterly cool Gap tote with sequins!!!

  9. I just want you to know I love your pictures and your blog and have been reading it for several months. I live in a different part of the country than you. I'm rarely plagued by heat-- even in the summer. :) But I do garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, though I didn't know that plant, and haven't heard of "Turk's Cap". I'm in the Seattle area.

  10. I'm anxious to hear how you like Garden Spells. It's our big "push" book at work. I like the cover. :)

    Wish it would cool off for you! Maybe some ice cream will help. :)

  11. Those totes are very reasonably priced. Like you I have too many as is. I just realized that I have my list for the cozy challenge on my challenge spreadsheet, but have never posted them. Thanks for the reminder.

    I want Ivy's cleaning lady. Mine is just like Josie and I'm about fed up with the job she's doing! Of course, with our house all torn up I don't think I could pay anyone enough to clean. On the other hand, she'd only have to vacuum a small square in the living room. I curl into a fetus position and cry whenever the doorbell rings. And it's only going to get worse before it gets better. Such is life, huh?

    I wonder if that pretty Turk's Cap will grow in our cold climate? I'm off to read up about it.

  12. I'm sobbing *sniffle*. I just discovered that the Turk's Cap is related to the hollyhock and globe mallows, both of which do well in Utah, but the Turk's Cap doesn't like it colder than 20 degrees. *sniffle* You'll just have to keep posting pictures so I can enjoy it.

  13. KW,

    Thanks for popping in to let me know you read my blog! I just peeked at yours. You wouldn't happen to have an auto-immune ear disease, would you? I don't see an explanation, but I'm on a listserv with people who have ear troubles because I was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease in 2002.

    I really still think of myself as a novice gardener, so it's always thrilling to figure out what attracts the "good" wildlife and keeps away the bad. Oddly, in the book I'm currently reading, the author mentions Turk's Cap within the first 20 pages. I would have ended up looking it up, anyway! :)


    I loved Garden Spells. We're about to leave for the pool - we're hosting today's swim meet - but I'll try to get a review posted by this evening. I've been a little under the weather, the past couple of days, so it just depends on whether or not the heat makes me feel worse, how soon I'll get to that.

    Ice cream actually makes me queasy. Darn.

  14. Booklogged,

    I have quite a few totes and they each seem to have a different purpose. My very cool Gap tote with the sequins is for Bible study things, so it's had a Bible sitting in it since the last time I went to a Bible study (which has been quite a while, actually, although a new one begins Sunday).

    I could definitely use a better cleaning lady than myself. I'm just like Josie. Sad, but true.

    Sorry about the Turk's Cap. I'll have to read up on it so I know when to buy and plant. I've already got a location picked out. You get below 20 degrees? I don't think we ever get that cold - even during the worst of our cold snaps.

  15. Really pretty pics!

    Love those bags, esp. the Ice Blue or Pink one.

  16. Chris,

    Thank you.

    Those bags are pretty cute, aren't they? I almost wish I needed one, but I don't. :)

  17. Bookfool, you should turn professional, those butterfly pictures are absolutely marvelous!!!

  18. Lotus,

    Thank you; you're too kind! I got to be the "official" team photographer at my son's swim meet, yesterday. That was fun, although I have to admit I was intimidated by the lenses the professionals were carrying!!

  19. Your pictures are truly lovely! I wish I was as talented as you are!

    Actually, Dying In Style sounds like a book I would really like. Especially when I need something light! Nice review!

  20. I like how you posted those pictures in a grid like that. I gotta learn how to do that.

  21. Stephanie,

    Thank you! You're too kind. :)

    Dying in Style is a nice, light cozy mystery. Not many brain cells are required - it's definitely a good one for a time when you need something light to read.


    I used Picasa's Grid feature. It's really easy and I think you can download Picasa for free, if you don't already have a copy.


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