Authors: Elaine Viets
Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Cozy, #Women Sleuths, #Amateur Sleuth, #General
Table of Contents
Praise for Elaine Viets’s novels
“Elaine Viets has come up with all the ingredients for an irresistible mystery: a heroine with a sense of humor and a gift for snappy dialogue, an atmospheric South Florida backdrop . . . and some really nasty crimes.”
—Jane Heller, author of An Ex to Grind
“Wit, murder, and sunshine . . . it must be Florida. I LOVE THIS NEW SERIES BY ELAINE VIETS.”
—Nancy Pickard, author of The Truth Hurts
“Elaine Viets is fabulous.”
—Jerrilyn Farmer, author of The Flaming Luau of Death
“[An] intelligent heroine.”
—Charlaine Harris, author of Dead as a Doornail
“[An] entertaining new series with just the right touch of humor.”
The Miami Herald
“It’s Janet Evanovich meets
—Tim Dorsey, author of Torpedo Juice
Dying to Call You
“Viets writes a laugh-out-loud comedy with enough twists and turns to make it to the top. . . . In fact, she’s been nominated for a truckload of awards this year. . . . There is a good reason why Viets is taking the mystery genre by storm these days . . . she can keep you wondering whodunit while laughing all the way to the last page.”
“Stars one of the liveliest, [most] audacious and entertaining heroines to grace an amateur sleuth tale. . . . Cleverly designed. . . . Elaine Viets is a talented storyteller.”
—Midwest Book Review
Murder Between the Covers
“Wry sense of humor, appealing, realistic characters, and a briskly moving plot.”
—Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“A great writer . . . simply superb.”
Shop Till You Drop
“Fans of Janet Evanovich and Parnell Hall will appreciate Viets’s humor.”
—Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Elaine Viets’s debut is a live wire. . . . Helen Hawthorne takes Florida by storm. Shop no further—this is the one.”
“I loved this book. With a stubborn . . . heroine, a wonderful South Florida setting and a cast of more-or-less lethal bimbos,
Shop Till You Drop
provides tons of fun. Six-toed cats, expensive clothes, sexy guys on motorcycles—this book has it all.”
“Fresh, funny, and fiendishly constructed,
Shop Till You Drop
gleefully skewers cosmetic surgery, ultra-exclusive clothing boutiques, cheating ex-husbands, and the Florida dating game, as attractive newcomer Helen Hawthorne takes on the first of her deliciously awful dead-end jobs and finds herself enmeshed in drugs, embezzlement, and murder. A bright start to an exciting new series. This one is hard to beat.”
—Parnell Hall, author of The Puzzle Lady crossword puzzle mysteries
“A smashing success [that] contains wit [and] local color. . . . The heroine is a delightful mix of grit, determination and stubbornness. . . . Electrifying.”
—Midwest Book Review
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,
Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,
Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany,
Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, October 2005
Copyright © Elaine Viets, 2005
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is dedicated to the American shopper—those brave women who line up at the Target stores in the chilly dawn the day after Thanksgiving, the veterans of the August White Sales, and the fearless souls who face their peers seminaked in the dressing rooms at Loehmann’s.
I live in Fort Lauderdale now, but setting my new series in my hometown of St. Louis gave me a terrific reason to visit my favorite friends and places.
So many of you helped with this book. I hope I can remember everyone.
Special thanks to Jinny Gender and Janet Smith, who gave me their valuable local expertise. Photographer Jennifer Snethen took detailed pictures of Maplewood and the surrounding areas.
Thanks also to Susan Carlson, Karen Grace, Diane Earhart, Rita Scott, and Anne Watts for their help and advice. Also, thanks to Valerie Cannata, Colby Cox, and Kay Gordy.
Special thanks to the law enforcement men and women who answered questions on police procedure and lie detector tests. Particular thanks to Detective RC White, Fort Lauderdale Police Department (retired). Some of my police and medical sources had to remain nameless, but I want to thank them all the same. Any mistakes are mine, not theirs.
Thanks to the librarians at the Broward County Library and the St. Louis Public Library who researched my questions, no matter how strange.
Thanks to public relations expert Jack Klobnak, and to my friend, Carole Wantz, who loves books and bookselling.
I also want to thank Emma, a special friend and expert on nine-year-olds, since she used to be one last year. Emma gave me deep background on what it’s like to be nine years old in St. Louis: what you wear, where you shop, what you eat and study in school. I wish I could use her name, but the world is a dangerous place these days for young women.
I also wanted to thank the many moms who generously took time to answer my questions about their hopes, needs and fears for their children. Their replies were useful and touching. They include author Laura Burdette, romantic suspense writer Allison Brennan, Amy, Cindy Bokma, Stephanie Elliot, Jennifer, Kelly, Kristin Billerbeck, author of the Ashley Stockingdale books, Lisa, Chris Redding, author of
The Drinking Game
Thanks also to Susan McBride, author of
The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.
Special thanks to my agent, David Hendin, and Kara Cesare, one of the last of the real editors, as well as the Signet copy editor and production staff.
Last but never least, I want to thank my husband, Don Crinklaw, for his extraordinary help and patience.
“You’re going to kill me,” he said.
He was young, maybe twenty-five. He’d followed her outside with a sensual swagger, his Armani suit clinging to him like a wicked woman.
Fear wiped away the ugly sneer he’d had five minutes ago in the store. Now he was alone with Josie Marcus in a mall parking lot in suburban St. Louis. They were lost in a sea of empty cars baking in the fall sunshine. The auto audience didn’t care what happened to the man. Neither did Josie.
“I’m begging you,” he said. “Don’t do it.” His full lips trembled. They were such nice lips when they pleaded for mercy.
Josie tried to feel sorry for the man. But she remembered the way he’d scorned her in the store. His upper lip had curled like a salted slug when he’d noticed her cheap jeans. He’d made her feel sexless and unfashionable. He’d practically elbowed her out of the way to chase after a bottle blonde with jacked-up boobs.
How many other women had he treated the same way? Josie wondered. He deserved what was going to happen to him. A quick, painless termination was too good for him.