Mystery Review 
Permed to Death
by Nancy J. Cohen
Kensington, 2000 (paperback)
ISBN: 1-57566-624-3

I picked the perfect place to read Permed to Death…the beauty salon.  Settling in for four hours of pampering (including a perm), I lost myself in Marla Shore’s adventures at south Florida’s Cut ‘N Dye.   

Stylist Marla Shore opens her shop early to accommodate Bertha Kravitz, a wealthy client who was blackmailing Marla for lifetime free service.  Mrs. Kravitz lived to use people, so she was not well loved in the community.  As she drank a cup of poisoned coffee and dropped dead before her neutralizer, there were many with reasons to feel relieved.  But Marla had one major problem.  She was the only other person in the shop, and therefore, the prime suspect. 

Marla, haunted by the death of a child in her care years ago, is determined to solve the mystery of who poisoned the powder creamer that only Mrs. Kravitz used.  Her list of suspects includes:  Carlos, the cleaning crewman who left the backdoor unlocked; any member of her staff or a customer who knew the schedule; Roy Collins, Mrs. Kravitz’s business partner; Todd, Mrs. Kravitz’s disinherited son; and Zack Greenfield, who was in a financial slump as his wife becomes Mrs. Kravitz’s only heir. 

Detective Dalton Vail is on the case and at first is at odds with Marla’s mission to solve the murder.  She shares the findings of her investigation with Dalton, but he remains tight-lipped about what the police have on the case.  Finally, they join forces to take a ride in the Everglades and a meeting with a santero, the holy man of a religion that blends the beliefs of former African slaves with Christianity.   A romantic relationship develops between Marla and Dalton as the clues begin to fall in place. 

The initial book of Nancy Cohen’s “Bad Hair Day Mysteries” is a nail-biting adventure, so schedule a manicure.  Permed to Death is witty and a well-crafted mystery that will have you guessing till the intense end.  


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

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