Kensington, Feb 2003, 22.00, 204 pp.
In New Orleans, though she fears her upcoming sixtieth birthday because that sounds old, Charlotte LaRue feels quite good about her cleaning company, Maid for a Day. Her small firm won a contract from realtor Marian Hebert to clean the renovated Devilier Apartments before the tenants take residency.
However, the cleaning crew finds a dead body in a closet in one of the rooms. The police led by Charlotte's niece and her tenant arrive to investigate. The corpse turns out to be Drew Bergerson, who allegedly died two years ago in a plane crash into the Gulf of Mexico. Though told to stay out, Charlotte wonders if this death is connected to the supposed accidental explosion nine months ago that killed Marian's husband as she tries to sweep clean the homicide in her own unique manner.
DEATH TIDIES UP is an attractive amateur sleuth-police procedural that reader will relish because the engaging staff, especially the charming star, makes for fun reading. The cozy style who-done-it will hook the audience because of the warm cast though the answers to the murder mystery seem strange. Barbara Colley provides an entertaining cozy that will send the audience seeking the first LaRue novel, MAID FOR MURDER, which is being re-released as a paperback in January.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner