Killer Hair (Crime of Fashion Series #1)

( 34 )


Home of the helmet hairdo and Congressional comb-over, Washington, D.C. is a hotbed of fashion faux pas. If anyone should know, it's "Crimes of Fashion" columnist Lacey Smithsonian. She dishes out advice to the scandal-scorched and clothing-clueless, doing her part to change this town-one fashion victim at a time...

An up-and-coming stylist, Angie Woods had a reputation for rescuing down-and-out looks-and careers-all with a pair of scissors. But when Angie is found with a ...

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Home of the helmet hairdo and Congressional comb-over, Washington, D.C. is a hotbed of fashion faux pas. If anyone should know, it's "Crimes of Fashion" columnist Lacey Smithsonian. She dishes out advice to the scandal-scorched and clothing-clueless, doing her part to change this town-one fashion victim at a time...

An up-and-coming stylist, Angie Woods had a reputation for rescuing down-and-out looks-and careers-all with a pair of scissors. But when Angie is found with a drastic haircut and a razor in her hand, the police assume she committed suicide. Lacey knew the stylist and suspects something more sinister-that the story may lie with Angie's star client, a White House staffer with a salacious website. With the help of a hunky ex-cop, Lacey must root out the truth...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
A terrific debut with a style all its own, Killer Hair sports a keen sense of humor, sharp wit, and clever, compelling plot. Reporter Lacey Smithsonian never wanted to cover the fashion beat -- especially in a city where helmet-head hairdos vie with congressional comb-overs, and dowdy is considered a positive fashion statement. But her column, "Crimes of Fashion," has a power all its own: though Lacey says Washington is the city that fashion forgot, it's also a place where appearances are among the most powerful political accessories. When the life of a talented young hairstylist is cut short, and the police call it suicide inspired by a truly bad hair day (a rainbow-dyed, ragged razor cut replacing her long, golden waves), Lacey is convinced the gruesome death could not have been self-inflicted. Her search for the truth covers a range of colorful suspects, from jealous coworkers to unhappy customers -- and soon takes on a life of its own, drawing attention from scandalmongers, federal agents, and an expert in hostile makeovers who plans to add Lacey to the growing list of fashion victims. Sue Stone
From the Publisher
"A fabulously fun and fashionable new series!   Ellen Byerrum tailors her debut mystery with a sharp murder plot, entertaining fashion commentary, and gutsy characters.  I’ll look forward to the next installment with reporter Lacey Smithsonian covering style and mayhem in Washington D.C."—Nancy J. Cohen, Author of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries

"Lacey Smithsonian skewers Washington with style in this new mystery series. Killer Hair is a shear delight."—Elaine Viets, Author of Shop Till You Drop

“Cut-wrong hair mingles with cutthroat Washington, DC, in Ellen Byerrum’s rippling debut. Peppered with girlfriends you’d love to have, smoldering romance you can’t resist, and Beltway insider insights you’ve got to read (Pentagon pheromone rays?), Killer Hair adds a crazy twist to the concept of ‘capital murder.’   Bubbles may have to visit.” —Sarah Strohmeyer, Agatha Award-winning author of Bubbles Ablaze

“Lacey Smithsonian is no fashionista—she’s a ‘40s starlet trapped in style-free DC, with a feminist agenda, a cadre of delightfully insane friends, and a knack for stumbling on corpses. Funny, fast and frighteningly accurate. Lacey slays and sashays thru Washington politics, scandal, and Fourth Estate slime, while uncovering whodunnit, and dunnit and dunnit again.” —Chloe Green, author of the Dallas O’Connor fashion mysteries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451209481
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Series: Crime of Fashion Series, #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 702,207
  • Product dimensions: 6.74 (w) x 4.12 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Byerrum is a journalist in Washington, D.C., and a produced and published playwright. She holds a Virginia private investigator’s registration. A Colorado native, she lives in Virginia with her husband. Visit her Web site at
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Lacey Smithsonian looked down at the unfortunate woman in the coffin and thought, Oh my God, that is the worst haircut I've ever seen.

And they say you can't die from a bad haircut. Even as that sentiment percolated through her brain, she added, You are such a bitch, Lacey. But she couldn't help it. It really was a bad haircut.

The haircut belonged to Angela Woods, "Angie" to her friends at Stylettos, the trendy Dupont Circle salon where she had worked until just a few days ago. Now Angie was the guest of honor in the polished maple casket at Evergreens Mortuary in the Nation's Capital.

At only twenty-five, Angie's sweet round face wasn't going to get any older. And that hairdo wasn't going to get any better. The deceased looked peaceful, if a little sad, laid to rest in the satin-lined box. She wore a dark rose silk jacquard dress with a lace collar that conflicted wildly with those strange short rainbow-colored clumps of hair sticking up in between patches of bruised bald scalp.

What on earth was she thinking?

Although Lacey had only known Angie casually, she remembered her as polite and demure. Her friends said Angie was committed to the proposition that every life could be improved with the help of a professional stylist. But there would be no more perms, colors, or highlights in Angie's attempt to make the world a prettier place.

At least the city didn't need any help that day. It was a beautiful Wednesday in April and there was a respite from the rain that had pounded the city into submission for the last two weeks. Cherry trees were exploding with blossoms, a pink snowstorm against a turquoise sky. On days like this, springtime in the Capital City is a wanton green feast that wraps itself around the heart. Days like this make Washingtonians forget that spring is usually a dreary, soggy endurance test that begins with endless drizzly fifty-degree days, then slams headlong into summer, drenching humidity, and ninety-degree heat, leaving psychic whiplash and a dull sinus headache.

Nevertheless, every spring D.C. is the scene of an invasion of curiously dressed tourists, Day-Glo families, busloads of polyester grandparents, and entire high-school classes wearing matching blue and orange neon T-shirts and baseball caps. They are nice, enthusiastic, and irritating as hell. The tourists hear the pumping heartbeat of spring. They answer unseen drums commanding them to swarm around the Tidal Basin in a yearly ritual as predictable as the swallows that return to Capistrano.

At least the tourist hordes Lacey had fought through to reach the mortuary, with their plastic cameras and camcorders, knew how to appreciate spring in Washington. A hundred thousand weak-eyed wonks would never see it, toiling in their anonymous beige and gray offices. The woman in the coffin would never again enjoy it.

Lacey wondered exactly what she was doing in a mortuary. But she'd rather be anywhere on a glorious spring day than back at her desk at the newspaper, opening stacks of press releases in search of something, anything, to write about.

"What did I tell you, Lacey? Is that not the worst razor job you ever saw?"

Lacey turned to see her own hairstylist, Stella Lake, standing behind her in the small viewing room. Stella was the manager of Stylettos. She had an image to uphold, so she had dressed carefully for the occasion: her best black Lycra leggings, red leather bustier, and black leather bomber jacket. For Stella, this was uncharacteristically subdued, even with the fresh manicure-bold red nails inset with tiny lightning bolts. The leather dog collar set off an asymmetrical crew cut-burgundy this week-that spiked defiantly from Stella's perfectly round noggin. It was a disconcerting look for a petite thirty-five-year-old woman with the beginnings of crow's-feet and a whiskey voice, but attention getting nevertheless. Stella was small but managed to seem much larger.

The woman was a genius with a pair of scissors-on other people's heads. Yet Stella considered herself her own best work of art, one that changed with the moon or the tides or simply bad hair days that cried out to try something new.

"To be honest, Stella, now she looks like most of your stylists. Except for the bald spots. And the bruises."

"No way! The hand that did that was not professional. Besides, what I'm saying is, punk dominatrix isn't her style. Angie was more of a Guinevere type, you know?"

"Guinevere?" Lacey asked. Stella was the queen of stylistic shorthand.

"You know, romantic. Long hair, long dresses. Pink. Angie liked pink."

"Pink?" Lacey had complicated feelings about pink. She actually liked it, but it seemed out of place in this town. Washington, D.C., was the epitome of a taupe, bland, beige, oatmeal kind of town, and heavy on black and gray. Hairstylists and other artistic types preferred a wardrobe of stark black and white. Pink was considered far too perky, except among the preppier Republicans.

Stella shrugged and lifted her eyebrows. They both took another look at Angie.

An eight-by-ten photo of Angie was set up on a table near the casket. The Angie in the picture had long golden-blond hair that cascaded in soft waves to her waist. It was glorious hair, the kind of hair that poets write about, the kind that comes to mind when little girls read about Rapunzel.

Just a few days before, Lacey had nervously surrendered her own locks to Stella, who installed dazzling blond highlights in her honey-brown hair. Stella had dared her. "What? It's going to kill you to try something new? Trust me, Lacey, it'll work. Besides, you were probably blond as a kid. I'm right, aren't I?"

Angie had floated through the salon, a serene long-haired Madonna wearing a pink Stylettos smock in a sea of buzz-cut punkettes wearing black on black and enough eyeliner for a tree full of raccoons. She stopped to assure Lacey in her soft Southern drawl that the highlights would be beautiful. Angie's chair-side manner was a good deal more soothing than Stella's.

Lacey looked back at Stella. "What happened to her?"

"What does it look like?"

"The paper's police log said suicide. But it didn't mention this monstrosity. Damn, Stella, it looks like she scalped herself in a fit of madness or was stone drunk or drugged out, came to her senses, took one look in the mirror, and killed herself. Is that possible?"

"That's what the police think." Stella pulled Lacey away from the casket as if the dead woman could hear them. The D.C. police had written off Angela Woods as a suicide, a "suicide blonde" as it were, and that was that.

Lacey knew the murder rate in the District of Columbia was astronomical, the rate of solved murders half the national average, the state of the morgue chaotic, and autopsy results as changeable as the weather. For years, the D.C. homicide squad had been a joke, and not even the funniest one in this town. The cops thought they had it all wrapped up, Stella told her. The detectives concluded that hairstylist Angela Woods slit her wrists at Stylettos Salon in Dupont Circle, using a Colonel Conk straight razor, a common salon tool, then wrote So Long with her blood on the mirror-which they termed the "suicide note." She bled to death in the chair at her station sometime late Saturday night.

Sunday morning, with a gigantic hangover, Stella opened the salon, discovered the body, lost her breakfast, and called the police. Stella figured alerting the police was a bad idea, but she didn't have a better one at the time. It wasn't like she could call her psychic (who should have warned her in the first place) or her acupuncturist.

The body was collected, sent to the medical examiner's office, released, and laid out for viewing on Wednesday. The funeral was scheduled for Thursday morning at ten.

Stylettos never opened the day Stella found the body. It remained closed on Monday while a special crime-scene cleaning company removed the bloodstains. Crime-scene cleaning crews: a growth industry in Washington, Lacey thought. Along with document shredding.

"It must have been pretty awful finding her."

"I've had better days." Stella chewed at one lighting-bolted nail. "There was so much blood, Lacey. I never knew there could be so much blood. The cops told me she was probably doing drugs. I said 'Look at that haircut!' They said Angie must've been into self-mutilation. Assholes."

"Drugs? Did they order toxicology tests?"

"Who knows! They sent her body to the D.C. morgue! It's a miracle they even got the right body to the mortuary."

"So you don't know. What about an autopsy?"

Stella shook her head. According to the media, the morgue was another abyss you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. The District was trying to clean it up and improve the office's image, but was fighting years of corruption and inefficiency, bad press, lack of money, bodies stacked in corners, and misidentified victims.

"I can't imagine her doing this. It's not her style, and frankly, it's a pretty piss-poor job," Stella concluded.

"The haircut or the suicide?"

"Either. Both."

"And why exactly did you want me to come here today?" Stella had been frantic on the phone: Lacey had to meet her at the mortuary. She stopped just short of threatening retribution on Lacey's head, or worse, on her hair, but it was implied that Lacey's freshly lightened locks would be in peril. "It's really awful, Stel, but what can I do?"

"I thought you'd be, you know, interested."

Lacey and Stella sank down on folding chairs and gazed at the flower arrangements. Lacey's eyes rested on a small basket of violets, sweet and sad, sent from the salon, and a showy arrangement of white roses, irises, and gladiolus, signed Always, Boyd. That would be Boyd Radford, owner of Stylettos, Stella's notorious boss. Sprays of pink carnations came from the Woods family. The subdued lighting made the coffin the focal point. The small room's dark wood paneling and deep burgundy carpeting were oppressive in spite of the bright flowers. Boxes of tissues were discreetly placed for the convenience of mourners.

"'Interested'?" Lacey waited.

Stella sighed loudly. "Well, since you are an expert, I thought maybe, who knows-"

"An expert!" What is she talking about? Lacey was aghast. "Stella, I write a fashion column."

"Like I said."

"An expert on what?"

"Style. Nuances. Like you wrote last week. 'Nuances of style are clues to personality.'"

"Well, yes...Wait. You don't actually read my column."

"'Crimes of Fashion'? Are you kidding? Like a Bible. Only more fun. And those 'Fashion Bites.' We love 'em. You should do them every day."

"Every day! It's hard enough to write 'Crimes' once a week. As for 'Fashion Bites,' they only bite when the spirit, or my editor, moves me."

Lacey did not want to believe anyone actually read her column, or The Eye Street Observer, the upstart daily newspaper in which it appeared. She thought of it as "The Little Paper That Couldn't," and she firmly believed the damn column would be the death of her. If not literally, then figuratively-the death of her dream of being a good reporter, a real reporter. Not a fashion reporter, or even an antifashion reporter, as she had decided to think of herself. She assumed her weekly sartorial diatribes were poured into the computer and then cast into the void. But as for people actually reading it, considering it, quoting it? Oh my God.

"And you thought that by just gazing at a dead woman, I could figure out what happened?" Only in the District of Columbia could people actually believe that some random idiot off the street, or, yes, even a fashion reporter, could solve a murder before the cops.

"I am not an investigator, Stella." Lacey struggled for a way to escape her stylist's mad notion. "Why not call a private detective?"

"Like, for a hundred reasons. One, they cost money. Two, I don't know any. Three, I got you."

"Oh, Stella." Lacey sighed. "I don't know what to say."

"Four, nuances. Lacey, look at her. These are big nuances here. Like a neon sign. And you have a nose for nuances." Stella started chewing another nail. This whole mess was ruining her manicure and calling the cops hadn't solved anything. "Well, it was a thought. So sue me."

"It's very sweet, but...What kind of a thought, Stella?" Leave now, Lacey. You don't want to know.

"You know how you always write that the way people dress reveals who they really are, like it's a key to their personality or something? Their hair. Their grooming. Their clothes. Like it's a language, right, or a code? About how it's good to express yourself if you know what you're saying. Like you do that Forties thing with your clothes. It says, you know, Rosalind Russell meets Rosie the Riveter. Brains, beauty, and no bullshit. Something like that. Am I right?"

Lacey couldn't argue with Stella, but she was stopped cold at hearing her own fashion philosophy distilled into Stella's pungent vernacular. Am I that transparent?

Stella proudly indicated her own leather bondage outfit, heavy on the zippers. "Take me. What am I saying here? Come on. This is an easy one. 'Punk Goddess with a Heart of Gold.' Right?"

On acid, Lacey amended silently.

"It works on me because I know what I'm doing. I know what I'm saying with my clothes. I wear what I mean. I mean what I wear."

"I wrote that?"

"Not in so many words, but I knew what you meant, you know."

"Stella, my column is a joke. I have no business writing it. It was a fluke. I'm still trying to get out of it."

"No way. You should be proud of it, Lacey. We read 'Crimes of Fashion' aloud in the salon every Friday with our coffee. I just figured you could take a look at Angie and figure something out."

"I'm not psychic, Stella."

"She didn't kill herself, Lacey! Look at her. This look says, 'I wouldn't be caught dead looking this way.' Maybe you could just tell people that. In your column, where people she knew could read it. It would mean something to them. To her."

It occurred to Lacey that Stella was the only stylist in Washington who had found a way to cut her light brown locks into a style that always fell into place effortlessly and even evoked a hint of early Lauren Bacall. She had to admit the new highlights were stunning. The lightened waves skimmed her shoulders, framed her face, and made her blue-green eyes look enormous. And she liked Stella, who always made her laugh. You're sunk, Lacey. She's got you by the roots.

"She had plans for her life." Stella reached in the casket and gently ran her fingers over the short tufts of Angie's hair. She clicked her tongue. "If it was suicide, it was assisted. You know what I mean?" Lacey sighed deeply and studied Angie. The woman in the picture. The corpse in the coffin. Stella was right. They didn't jive. "Nuances?"

Stella nodded. "Real big nuances."

But if Angie didn't kill herself...who did? Was it possible that some degenerate had spitefully hacked off her hair? Then what? Killed her? Or vice versa? Who wouldn't want to see her stylist dead at one time or another? Was it so far-fetched? Lacey's mind wandered back to notable hair disasters in her pre-Stella days. The perm that turned into a Brillo pad. The "trim" that rendered her a Joan of Arc look-alike. The highlights that turned green. Mayhem maybe, but surely not-

"Murder, Stella?" If the likelihood of a murder being solved in D.C. was merely remote, then the likelihood of a nice, neat suicide being reclassified as a murder, and then solved, was zilch. Stella shrugged. "But who would want to kill her? A client?" Lacey asked.

"Nah, everybody loved Angie. Unique, I know."

"What about a boyfriend?"

"None that I know of. She would have told me. You know how hard it is to find a decent male specimen here. Besides, Angie was totally choosy and completely into the career thing."

Lacey closed her eyes and tried to remember everything she knew about the dead woman.

Angela Woods was just coming into her own professionally. She had enjoyed a brief spurt of fame for magically transforming the latest fallen woman in a Capitol Hill scandal from a heifer into a fox-at least by D.C. standards. Angie was one of the few who had benefited from that ugly political potboiler. Politics in Washington is like Muzak in elevators. It's everywhere, and for most Washingtonians it eventually just becomes background noise. But even the political junkies, the vampires of Washington, who eat, breathe, and live every little congressional stab in the back and read party-line votes like a fortune-teller reads tea leaves, need hairstylists. Which is how Angie Woods and politics intersected.

Congressional staffer Marcia Robinson needed a makeover-and a miracle. The town's latest scandal celebrity was the ideal grist for the media mill: young, naive, and far from innocent. Marcia believed a little too wholeheartedly in her First Amendment right to take it all off on the Web-and to recruit exhibitionistic underage Capitol Hill interns.

When she received her own invitation for a chat with the perennial special prosecutor, big-haired, toothy, would-be sexpot Marcia needed a new image fast. When a woman faces the TV cameras in a Washington scandal, Bad Hair means Bad News.

"It was a work of art what she did to that woman, that Marcia Robinson."

"More like a public service." Lacey had featured the makeover in a "Crimes of Fashion" column: "My Life Is a Mess, but I've Never Looked Better!"

Angela Woods' last worldly accomplishment was successfully repackaging a frumpy, frizzy-haired cyber-tart as a sadder-but-wiser naif with silky blow-dried locks, a doe-eyed innocent who was chastened by her media ordeal but bravely bearing up. And Angela reaped the benefits of her brief notoriety. For her efforts, she was featured in the LifeStyle sections of the various local newspapers, along with a few fashion dos and don'ts for looking your best in the media glare. As Lacey had summed up in her own column: "Tame the mane, emphasize the eyes, and keep the mouth glossy and shut." Always good advice in the District of Columbia.

Angie's client book was suddenly full and customers were waiting weeks for an appointment. Stylettos saved all the news clippings, which Stella posted on the front door of the salon. The attention was not without its downside, however. It created a ripple of resentment among the happy little crew at Stylettos. And now Angie was suddenly dead.

Stella interrupted Lacey's reverie. "How about it?"

"I can't write a column saying she was murdered. Not without the facts." Unless no one reads it except Stella.

"Investigate! You're a reporter. Reporters do it on TV all the time."

"Not fashion reporters."

"You'll be the first."

"Oh yeah, why not an investigative stylist?"

"Are you kidding? In this outfit? Besides, I got work to do." Stella whipped out hair spray, a comb, and a blond wig from her bag. "For Angie's mom, you know? She's flying in tonight."\

"That's very considerate, Stel." Lacey's eyes started to tear. She grabbed a tissue.

"I get along really well with mothers, just not my own." Stella began to restyle the corpse for her last public appearance. "And Lacey, last week's column-'Never Wear Pink to Testify Before the Special Prosecutor'-was stellar. See you at the funeral."

"Hey, I didn't say yes! Funerals are depressing and I hardly knew her. Stella, are you listening?"

"You can start there. Your investigation. Killers always go to the funeral, don't they?"

"No, Stella. I said no. Besides, I have nothing to wear."

--from Killer Hair by Ellen Byerrum , copyright © 2003 Ellen Byerrum, published by Signet, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2004

    THE bOOK oF thE YeAr

    This book is so exciting and the character is perfect, Lacey has style,class,and talent,the mystery that she puts in is so Extrodinary. My favorite part of the book is when she has all these feelings for Vic,but she can't tell him how she feels. The way the aurthor made us hope and pray that they get together and at the ending it was perfect! I hope in the next book Vic and Lacey get together. I encourget the author to keep on writting about lacey and vic. I am 14 yrs. old and i am in love with this book and i can't wait until i have more and more to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2012

    In Love with Lacey!

    Thank goodness for a fun flirty read. And a woman who does not apologize for looking good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2004

    Great as usual!

    This one keeps you interested. It is filled with the author's unique wit and style. I recommend it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2015

    Wonderful series with creative characters that leave you wanting

    Wonderful series with creative characters that leave you wanting more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2013


    Do not read this book or you will die inside as i did

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    How is this book?

    I havent read it yet

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    Fun and clever

    I can't get enough of Lacey's and Stella's adventures. Lacey's witty fashion observations, a great cast of characters and page turning stories make the whole series very addictive.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012


    This book was the wordt book ever. Dont read it!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not Bad

    Light, quick and easy read. It's not the best 1st book in a series that I've ever read, but I think it will get better as it goes along. It was a very cute book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    don't leave home without this easy read, and of course a pair of black patent leather flats...

    I finished the book last week while on vacation. The perfect getaway read! I enjoyed the main charachter, Lacey and her hodgepodge of friends and associates. The storyline was interesting and her descriptions of the other charachters gave you a very clear picture. The "fashion bites" were refreshing and informative.
    I look forward to finishing the the series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ok Not something you can read in a day

    This book started out slow stayed on the first funeral forever and some of the information didn't seem so important. Couldn't get in to the book as good as other books I've read. This book wasn't a book that was all you want to read 24-7. Ok and did end will but the lifetime movie was more insteresting.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Love this Series!

    Hope that she continues to write the Lacey Smithsonian books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2007

    abosluty wonderful

    i may be only a teenager but i know a good book when i read one! this book if full of fashon,mystery and everything you can want in a book..i recomend it to anyone over 13 and anyone who knows a good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2004

    Wonderful read!

    This is the type of book that you sit back and sigh after finishing, because it's just that good. Every aspect was entertaining and witty, and I loved getting wrapped up in it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2004

    A fashion reporter investigates death in a salon

    Lacey Smithsonian is a reporter with the Eye Street Observer in Washington, D.C. She writes the Crimes of Fashion column. Recently her column was about the makeover Marcia Robinson got from Stylettos stylist Angela Wood. Then Angie is found dead at Stylettos. The police say it is suicide. Anyone who knew Angie and knows the facts of her death does not believe it is suicide. Her hair has been cut off with a straight-edged razor. Angie was proud of her hair and suicide or not would not have done this to herself. Fellow stylist Stella asks her friend Lacey to investigate Angie¿s death. She feels that since Lacey is an investigative reporter, this should be easy. Lacey tries to say no, but saying no to Stella is not easy. Lacey runs into Victor Donovan who she knew back in Colorado. Now he¿s in the area helping his father run his security company. Styletto¿s is their new customer. There is a lot of history with Lacey and Vic and this new development just confuses her more. The FBI seems to be interested in Lacey¿s activities and this just makes her more determined to help Stella. Boyd Radford, owner of Stylettos, is called Ratboy behind his back by the stylists due to his profile. His ex-wife Josephine and their son Beau are not well-liked either. Then Tammi is found in the Virginia Beach Styletto¿s with her hair cut off in much the same way as Angie. She was a stylist there. Vic tries to convince Lacey to back off as he is concerned for her safety. She won¿t listen and ends up putting herself in grave danger when she finally figures out who the killer is. I like this new series. Lacey is a great character. The author has done a great job of making her believable and three-dimensional. I am looking forward to reading more exploits of Lacey Smithsonian and hope that Victor Donovan will also be in future books. I always enjoy books set in the DC area since that is where I live. I think it¿s more enjoyable to read a book when you can recognize locations mentioned in a book. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2003

    Extremely Amusing, Extremely Stylish

    This is an extremely amusing, extremely stylish, very well-written romp through the streets and salons of Washington, D.C. that combines an exciting, fast-moving mystery plot with very wicked asides that puncture some of the city's most cherished pretensions. The columns Lacey writes ('Crimes of Fashion') are by themselves well worth the price of admission. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and I had fun all the way through!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2003

    In love with Lacey Smithsonian!

    Lacey is one mixed-up beautiful babe who worries she's not quite beautiful enough, she's a fashion reporter who loves clothes but wishes she were covering anything but fashion, she's a Washingtonian (sort of, like most of us) but politics gives her the creeps, and she wishes someone would take care of her for a change, but boy she can really take care of herself when she has to. Men are all over her, except for the one guy who really did it for her, and she let him slip through her fingers. She tells her overwrought hairstylist that she doesn't know anything about investigating a murder that's dressed up to look like a suicide, but she finally figures out that she's the only one who really gets it...but now she has to put it all together. It's a pure pleasure watching her figure out that she doesn't have to know how to play detective, she just has to trust her gut instincts. And she even gets a second chance at the guy who got away. Hooray! Makes me want to give her a big hug and let her have my seat on the Metro Red Line! This a sweet, funny, exciting and winning book and a sweetheart of a heroine!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    intelligent amateur sleuth

    Nobody wants to make an enemy of their hairdresser, so when her stylist Stella Lake asks her friend Lacey Smithsonian to attend a viewing, she goes. The dead woman is a young hairdresser named Angie who has a bald do and cut wrists. The police think she committed suicide especially with the bloody note written on her mirror in the salon. Stella knows that Angie was murdered and she wants her reporter friend Lacey to prove it. <P>Lacey is a fashion columnist not an investigative reporter and at first rejects the idea out of hand. After thinking about it, she realizes that Angie¿s hair is missing. She writes a column about Angie and through a combination of circumstances finds herself in the middle of the investigation especially when another hair dresser dies and Lacey is the only one who sees the link. She continues to dig for information and ends up being stalked by a killer who wants to make her his next victim. <P>The protagonist¿s running commentary on social mores in Washington D.C. is hilarious and her pithy observations about fashion and its relationship with scandal, the law and murder will have readers in tears of laughter (don¿t wear fashionable mascara). The who-done-it is intelligently plotted and there is a plethora of suspects who could be the guilty party. The audience will go crazy trying to figure out who the killer is while the heroine goes nuts trying to figure out if a sexy security guard from her past is interested in her or her murder theory. <P>Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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