Trimmed to Death

Trimmed to Death

by Nancy J. Cohen


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, July 2


Savvy hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, Marla joins a scavenger hunt where people playing character roles are the targets. Instead of scoring points with a live person, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field. Who would want to cut short the life of food magazine publisher and fellow bake-off contestant Francine Dodger?

Francine is wearing a jacket borrowed from another entrant, food blogger Alyce Greene. With their similar builds, hair colors, and pixie haircuts, the women could have been mistaken for each other from behind. Was it possible Alyce had been the intended target instead of Francine? When another entrant is killed, Marla fears the rest of the contestants might be next.

Marla’s friend, deli owner Arnie Hartman, knows the farm owner’s son. He begs Marla to help clear the smear on the farm’s reputation. She’s joined by her husband, homicide detective Dalton Vail, in interviewing the bake-off contestants and judges. There’s no shortage of suspects. A celebrity TV chef, food critic, olive oil importer, food truck owner, pastry chef, and cookbook author may be stirring up more than their next recipe. Can Marla unmask the killer before someone else gets trimmed from life? Recipes Included!

“From fundraiser activity, culinary insights, and probes into Marla’s logic to recipes and romance which pepper the story line and embellish its twists and turns, readers who want a cozy mystery filled with atmosphere, intrigue, and adventure should settle a chair by the fire for a good evening’s read.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780998531762
Publisher: Orange Grove Press
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Series: Bad Hair Day Mysteries , #15
Pages: 290
Sales rank: 280,023
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Trimmed to Death 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
This is a series I’ve been enjoying ever since the author came to our store and, if I recall correctly, met with one of our book clubs. Nancy may have also participated in a big mystery authors gathering we hosted but I honestly am not sure about that and my records from back then are gone, burned up in a computer surge. At any rate, we go back to at least 2000 or 2001 and I haven’t missed a book since. There’s a reason for that—these are really good books with a protagonist I like a lot and, unlike some amateur sleuths, Marla Vail has a brain This time, hair salon owner Marla has entered a baking contest at a farm festival and joins in a scavenger hunt during the wait for the judging. As you might expect, Marla finds a body in the strawberry field, a competitor in the contest. Naturally, she’s compelled to investigate, especially after a friend asks her for help. Fortunately, her husband, Dalton, is tolerant of her stepping in even though he’s the investigating detective. As Dalton says upon seeing the body, “Good God, Marla. Not another one.” Not a surprising comment after so many bodies over the years but at least he’s used to Marla doing her sleuthing thing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of your bad hair day mysteries. Hope you are planing on doing more. Great series!!
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Marla Vail wants to expand her salon and spa to include a small cafe so when she hears about a bake-off contest with a $10,000 prize she signs up and enters her coconut fudge pie. The contest is part of the fall festival taking place on a local farm and many other activities are happening. Marla’s husband Dalton even enters some prime produce. There is also a fun scavenger hunt with people dressed up to promote healthy eating. Marla decides to play along while waiting for the cook-off winners to be announced. She finds every person except for the final one. The person was also a bake-off contestant, where could she have gone? Marla decides to venture into the strawberry patch and that is where she finds Francine Dodger but she won’t be doing any more baking or healthy eating. Marla has found another dead body. Dalton and Marla quickly realize anyone at the festival could be her killer. They have to narrow down the suspects and that isn’t going to be easy. Aside from the murder, Dalton and Marla are settling into married life and Dalton’s daughter Brianna will be applying to colleges soon. After taking care of her friend’s Tally’s son (Hair Brained). Marla has changed her mind about having children, but she may be too late. They are not having much luck in conceiving. In addition to helping with the investigation, Marla is busy with her hair salon and is even planning a fundraiser for a local museum. The fundraiser planning allows her to ask questions about the death of Francine too. I have really become caught up in the lives of Marla and Dalton. Marla has grown so much over these 15 stories. She has a huge heart and cares about helping her community and the people that inhabit it. She is an excellent step-mom to Brianna, a nice counterbalance to Dalton. He has grown too, and I love seeing them happy together. They also work well as an investigation team. Marla has a way of getting people to open up and tell her things they would never tell the police and Dalton knows it. Now the mystery is complex with many layers, so many suspects, and one person and another throwing shade and other people under the bus. Several theories are thwarted by evidence but after many twists clues start to come together. Following along was so much fun. The final climax was so exciting I was glued to my seat. The blend of mystery to family life is excellent, the pace is flawless and the characters are so appealing. The dialogue is spot on and the humor plays off the suspense at all the right times. This book was a fantastic read. The murder part of the story was all wrapped up but the family storyline continues and I truly cannot wait to read what happens next. Each title in this series can be read on its own so feel free to jump right in with Trimmed to Death, but I bet you will want to go back and read the rest!
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Each book I have read in this series gets better. Marla Vail, her detective husband Dalton and step-daughter Brianna are all involved in solving this mystery, which has so many suspects that it takes them all to solve this whodunnit. This book takes us away from the salon and spa to a local fall festival, where Marla enters a bake-off hoping to win the cash prize to add a lunch cafe to her salon. The competition is stiff, with bloggers and amateur cooks all vying for the prize. Marla never expected that it would be tough enough to result in murder. I like the relationships between the characters. The Vail family relationships are developing with Marla's step-daughter growing up and becoming an independent teenager. She is more involved in the mystery than in other books and it gives us an insight into her personality and the relationship that is continuing to develop between her and Marla. Detective Vail, Dalton, really relies on his wife's instinct and intellect to assist him in his investigations, especially since he knows he can not keep her from snooping and trying to find answers. Will Marla's nosiness and questioning make her a target? Marla and Dalton are also trying to have a baby, which adds another dimension to their relationship. The biggest problem in this investigation is discovering the motive, If they can figure that out, it will help them figure out who wanted the victims dead. There is a lot happening in this story that muddies the waters and makes it difficult to figure out who the murderer is. The plot moved quickly and I learned a few things about the food industry that I was not aware of. This was an enjoyable story, that was well researched with great characters and of course a wonderful setting. I recommend it to cozy mystery lovers, especially those who enjoy those with family dynamics that add to the story. The author provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions are my own.
Bernadette_Cinkoske More than 1 year ago
There is a lot going on in Trimmed to Death! While on a scavenger hunt at the festival, Marla finds the body of a bake-off contestant who is wearing the jacket of a different contestant. This story has well developed characters and lots of suspects. It will be difficult to discover the actual motive and killer. I really enjoyed this story.
SandySez More than 1 year ago
Finding a body at the fall festival involves Marla in a murder investigation. There are many suspects and even more plot twists. I received a free copy of this book and chose to make a voluntary, unbiased review.
WisReader More than 1 year ago
One of the best things about cozy mysteries is that you never know what you are going to learn in each book. The Bad Hair Day Mysteries is one of my favorite series. This book takes us away from the spa to a local food fair event and bake-off. The competition is rough but it is the behind the scenes grudges that are killer. I like the relationships between the characters, both familiar and new, in this book. As Marla's step-daughter is growing up, it is a precipitous balance between the well mannered, helpful girl we've seen and the independent teenager she is becoming. Initially Marla did not want children. When she took in her best friend's baby after a tragedy, some maternal hormones must have been jumpstarted. Now Marla is worried about how empty the house will be, too soon, when Brianna heads off to college. Detective Vail has come to understand how valuable his wife's instinct and intellect are to his investigations. He also knows he can not keep her from snooping and trying to find answers. His main concern is her safety. Will Marla's penchant for asking questions make her a target? Discovering the motive will make a huge difference in narrowing the suspect field. There is much going on and conflicting clues and evidence makes it a difficult case to solve.
gmcootie More than 1 year ago
If you’re already a fan you’ll agree this entry in the series is the best yet. If you haven’t read the series jump right in & enjoy. The history & backstories of the characters don’t overshadow the story but are presented so you don’t feel you’ve missed a thing. Trimmed to Death is a cozy mystery, but with a bit of an edge. Well-developed plot, complex mystery, characters with depth. A lot of suspects at the beginning & a number of clues to help you try & solve the mystery along with Marla. Don’t be surprised if you can’t, because there are also a lot of twists & turns & surprises. Marla’s profession as a hair stylist adds the dimension of hair & fashion info, & her interest in food supplies delicious meal & recipe ideas. She always notices hair, skin, clothes & general appearance as well as her surroundings, & this plays right into understanding the characters & solving the mystery. Marla is inquisitive & observant with a knack for getting people to open up & through her eyes we get to benefit from author Cohen’s extensive research into a variety of subjects. By this point in the series Marla & Dalton have settled into a very comfortable marriage & family life & she’s as thrilled with him as she ever was. Stepdaughter Brianna is a pretty typical teenager, but Marla deals with it all in a positive manner & the family dynamics are sound. Author Cohen has done an amazing job of developing Marla’s character - a few books back Marla irritated me half the time but now she has become both stronger & softer at the same time, more comfortable in her own skin & less prissy with each book & therefore more likeable. She cares about people, her community, her business & especially her family & friends. Dalton values her opinions & insight & has more or less resigned himself to finding her in the middle of his investigations. His initial reaction to her finding another body: “Good God, Marla. Not another one.” To go along with the strong Marla who is determined to be an equal partner there is the Marla who sometimes doubts herself & who hasn’t quite decided about the whole baby thing. She cared for her friend Tally’s son Luke for a long time in the previous book & has mellowed. Luke has made her see just how sweet having a baby around can be. Even though time passes, situations change & people grow, the behavior of the characters is consistent throughout the series. The mystery is intriguing & unusual and everything is satisfactorily wrapped up by the end. The story is complex & layered & the writing excellent. The characters’ lives seem real. Without you even noticing, she starts to wrap up story lines & build the suspense. Suddenly you realize the tension has ratcheted up, people are in real danger, & you aren’t quite sure if you’ve figured out whodunit or not. I love this series & always look forward to the next book. Marla has become like a friend, just quirky enough to be funny, like when she says, “Gaining information from Sally was like coaxing a stubborn curl into place,” or “Holy highlights!” which always makes me laugh, but a friend you can count on & want to spend time with. I recommend anything Nancy J. Cohen writes without hesitation.
TarynLee More than 1 year ago
In this next book of the series Marla and her friend Tally have entered a baking competition. The winner will receive a large check that would be put to expanding their business. They decide to enter a scavenger hunt while waiting for the winners to be announced. Since they have to do it solo they both head out to see if they can find all the clues needed to win. While looking for the person that holds the last clue Marla stumbles over the body of Francine Dodger, another contestant in the baking competition. Marla immediately calls her detective husband Dalton because not only is he there, he also entered one of the other competitions. After coming to the conclusion that Francine was murdered, Marla knows she must help her husband in figuring out who the killer is and why. Was it another competitor? Could it have been the owner of the farm where the competition was held? Did it have something to do with her work? There are so many suspects that Marla knows they must look for clues to make the list smaller. Meanwhile Marla and Dalton have been talking about having a baby and even though Marla has warmed up to the idea she still has some reservations. Follow along as Marla questions suspects, pursues clues, and finds out a ton of interesting facts about all the people involved. When another contestant is killed in a hit and run, there is a real urgency in finding out who the killer is before someone else meets an untimely end. This is such a wonderful series filled with a solid cast of characters who I've grown to love with each new book. I feel invested in their lives and have enjoyed their progression throughout the series. I can't wait to see where the author takes us next.
JuliaAD More than 1 year ago
This is such a great series. I love the characters and am happy to see how they have progressed. Marla and Tally have entered a baking contest and though neither of them won, they were having fun. Until Marla comes across another dead body. She calls Dalton and now they have another case to solve with the help of Dalton's daughter and their friends. There are so many suspects and twists and turns to this mystery but Marla has to help Dalton solve it so she can tell him her little secret. She is always afraid he will not want her help with his cases, but he does surprise her from time to time. It is good to see their family bond strengthening.