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Designed for Death

Designed for Death

4.6 3
by Jean Harrington

An Eye for Detail, a Nose for Trouble

Interior designer Deva Dunne's latest project comes to a screeching halt when blood on the carpet leads her to the body of her client, an exotic dancer with a mysterious past. But the murdered woman is not the only resident of the posh beachfront condominium with secrets, and investigating officer


An Eye for Detail, a Nose for Trouble

Interior designer Deva Dunne's latest project comes to a screeching halt when blood on the carpet leads her to the body of her client, an exotic dancer with a mysterious past. But the murdered woman is not the only resident of the posh beachfront condominium with secrets, and investigating officer Lieutenant Victor Rossi considers them all suspects.

Though wary of working in the killer's midst, Deva continues decorating the unit for the new owner. When she stumbles upon clues that might help crack the case, she can't resist doing a little digging of her own, despite Rossi's orders to quit meddling. Now, she's juggling the investigation, her career and sexy neighbor Simon Yaeger, who seems interested in more than her etchings.

Deva can't help but be flattered by all the male attention—that is, until she realizes the killer has designs on her, too...

67,000 words

Product Details

Carina Press
Publication date:
Murders by Design , #1
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1 MB

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I opened my condo door to a runway model in stiletto heels and a short little scrap of a dress that fit her like the peel on a banana.

"Hi, the name's Treasure," she said, holding out a hand to me, her pristine, fire-red nails tipped down. "Are you Deva Dunne?"

Mouth agape, I wrapped my fingers around hers then instantly let go and stuffed my hands in my pockets.

"Yes, I am." I eyed her skirt. I like mine short, too, but this one barely covered the essentials. Barely being the operative word. "What can I do for you?"

She flashed a megawatt smile. "Dick sent me. I just bought Unit 301 on the top floor."

Now everything fell into place, and I nodded. It was a miracle Dick Parker, the owner of the building, hadn't given her a condo free. He loved women, though he'd lived a married man's life for years.

"Dick told me you're an interior designer," she continued, "and, boy, do I need one."

I cleared my throat, doing my best to blink out her dramatic appearance and concentrate on what she was saying. "Well, I am a designer, but I haven't been working at it lately."

"Oh?" Her star-quality smile dimmed. "Dick said you were redoing the Surfside condos he has up for sale."

I shrugged and ran my tongue along my straight teeth. Four teenage years in braces had given me a smile like hers, right? "Just as a favor, to help him out."

"He's not paying you?" Her eyes swept wide open. "How terrible."

Dick was up against it financially, but I didn't think I should mention that. Or that shortly after moving in, I found out he planned to put pink flamingoes on the lawn. I told myself good taste was nothing more than educated timidity... Still, plastic birds. My God. The possibility that a flock of them might roost outside my windows had forced me to plunge back into my design role, which might have been a good thing. Until I healed from Jack's death, I wouldn't be fit to tackle a paying job. Though when the healing would begin, I had no idea. Maybe never. So for now at least, redoing Surfside Condominiums was keeping me sane.

Treasure peered over my shoulder, taking peeks at my foyer. I opened the door a bit more to make it easier for her.

"Would you like to come in?" I hadn't had a single visitor since I'd moved to Naples three months earlier, and the silence was getting deafening.

"Jeez. I thought you'd never ask."

I smiled and stepped aside. She strutted in, sank onto my couch and crossed her legs. The miniskirt rode up to the top of her thighs.

I pressed my lips together, sat on a club chair and kept my eyes north of her skirt hem. She pointed a finger at my Irish hunt board. "Old stuff like this is so cool, but it doesn't add up to guy space." She twirled a strand of long black hair around the same finger and eyed me inquisitively. "Any men in your life?"

I gulped and shook my head, sorry I'd invited her in. Questions about my love life were like drive-by bullets. I had no defense against them. Moisture welled under my lids. I clenched my jaw and jutted out my chin. No way would I let the tears flow. "Not anymore."

"Oh, dear. Was it the Big D?"

Unable to speak, I nodded. Who was this woman, anyway? Asking me hurtful questions five minutes after we met.

"Divorce is hell," she went on. "When I broke up with my significant other, I thought he'd commit suicide. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do."

I cleared my throat. "I haven't been divorced."

"But you broke up—"

"My husband died. Eight months and five days ago."

"Oh, I'm so sorry." She sounded as if she really meant it.

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Designed for Death 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Paul J. for Readers Favorite Recently widowed interior designer Deva Dunne decides to move to Florida in an attempt to get over the unexpected death of her husband. Deva takes a job of helping to redecorate one of the condos in her building for an ex-exotic dancer named Treasure. The day before Treasure is to finally move in, Deva finds fresh blood drops on newly installed carpeting that ultimately lead her to the naked body of her friend and client. As the case heats up, Deva soon finds herself becoming more involved with homicide detective, Lieutenant Rossi. Something just isn’t right though, so Deva decides to investigate the death and is stunned to discover that Treasure had been keeping a secret: she had once been Thomas. Deva also quickly learns that she too is in danger. Lieutenant Rossi eventually discovers the killer’s identity, but before he can make an arrest a hurricane hits Florida’s Gulf Coast, trapping Deva alone with a killer. "Designed for Death" is a well-written story. I found the characters to be very realistic and with each one’s somewhat eccentric persona suitable for the plot, particularly the protagonist, showing her vulnerabilities as well as her strengths. The plotting is well laid out with enough mystery and intrigue to keep the reader's interest as the author skillfully brings out different suspects with different motives for the murder. As cozy mysteries go, "Designed for Death" is right for the genre and fans of this genre will surely enjoy it. Nicely done.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
Review: Designed for Death by Jean Harrington 5 STARS Well I kept guessing the whole book who the murder was and till the end was not sure at all.Designed for Death keeps you in suspense to the end. I look forward to reading more of Jean Harrington work. I hope their are more books with Deva Dunne. Deva Dunne has moved down to Florida to get away from her old life. Her husband's death was hard on her. So she bought a condo and she has not worked for awhile until helping Dick the owner of her condo's was redoing them and she did not like his taste so offered to help. Dick sent her Treasure. Treasure stopped by her condo and asked her for help with her condo. Deva was excited to get back to designing and helped get the condo done all in white like Treasure wanted. Deva was into the condo the day before Treasure was to move into it for a final check and saw blood on carpet. She followed and found Treasure naked in the tub dead. Everyone in the condo complex was a suspect. Treasure's neighbor next door Simon was just coming back when he heard Deva scream, Simon is a tax lawyer and going through a divorce. Dick the complex owner strapped for money but getting the condos fixed up to sale. He is married to Marilyn. AudreyAnn and Chip are living together in one condo. AudreyAnn is a Pilates instructor. Chip is a retired chef. Neal is a golfer for a living always going out of town. Lots of suspects and lots of action for Deva. Deva does not want to date, she is still not over her husband Jack. Simon asks her to dinner to discuss fixing his condo up. Even lieutenant Rossi tries to take her to dinner. I like Deva she is starting to enjoy her life and working again. She keeps finding information out and gives it to Rossi. Who is always telling her to trust no one that everyone who knew Treasure is a suspect. So Deva does not know who to trust. To top everything off their is a hurricane that is coming their way. 01/02/2012 PUB Carina Press