When history teacher Bill Ripari offers his property for a school haunted house project, hairstylist Marla Vail volunteers to put the scare factor into the props' hair. She joins her stepdaughter along with other students, parents, and teachers to transform the wooded estate into a creepy attraction.
Marla is busy creating decorations when she spies a splash of red on the estate grounds. Curiosity compels her to go outside for a closer look, but the dark stain isn't fake blood meant to be part of fright night. Instead, the trail leads straight to the history teacher's dead body.
Worried about the kids, Marla puts on her sleuthing hat to investigate. She discovers every one of the volunteers present that night had a possible motive. Between slacker students, helicopter parents, unexpected heirs, and a stonewalling school administration, Marla has her hands full in solving the murder and keeping her stepdaughter safe.
This standalone edition includes a bonus chapter from Facials Can Be Fatal, #13 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.
|Publisher:||Orange Grove Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.19(d)|
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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite Haunted Hair Nights: A Bad Hair Day Mystery Novella (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries) by Nancy J. Cohen is a cozy mystery set in sunny Florida. Marla and Dalton haven't been married very long, and parenting Brianna, her teenage stepdaughter, is still new to her. Brianna asks Marla to help with her class's haunted house fund raiser and Marla reluctantly agrees. The history teacher has donated the use of his vacant family home for a haunted house. When taking a bathroom break, Marla looks through the window and notices a trail of blood leading into the wooded area behind the house. At first, she thinks it is part of the scare factor, but she decides to check it out. To her horror, she discovers the history teacher's body. With so many people working at the house, there are a lot of suspects. Dalton is a homicide detective and has access to information on the murder case. Marla is an amateur sleuth and is in the parent-teacher association. She can query the teachers and parents. At school, Brianna has the ability to question the students who were at the scene and find out what they know. They decide to team up and work together as a family to discover the murderer. It seems like a good idea until they begin to get too close to the truth and Marla and Brianna receive graphic threats. They have a long list of suspects to choose from. A couple of over-protective mothers, the principal, the coach, and a few unhappy students were at the top of the list. Who have they panicked? Haunted Hair Nights by Nancy J. Cohen is an enjoyable sleuth mystery. While the new family is trying to solve the murder, they are strengthening their family ties. Marla has very little problem asking people difficult questions. She jumps right in there and gets the information, but when it comes to being a stepmother, she is not as confident. As the story progresses, she finds that she understands her blossoming stepdaughter better than she thought. Dalton is a very understanding husband and hasn't realized his little girl is growing up. It was gratifying to observe Marla, Dalton and Brianna's family dynamic mature. This is a good cozy mystery and can be enjoyed by young adults on up. It was a pleasure to read this story.