zaterdag 3 juli 2010

India Ink - Bath and Body series

India Ink – Scent to her Grave

India Ink is the pen name for Yasmine Galenorn, an other of my favourite authors! And she wrote this wonderful trio of cozy mysteries, with a hint of paranormal in it. I totally loved it!

Scent to her Grave

Luckily for the residents of Gull Harbor, Washington, the local bath and body store – Venus Envy – takes care of all their beauty needs, from custom blended oils to relaxing spa services. Behind the counter is newcomer Persia Vanderbilt, the niece of the proprietor, who has a nose for mixing scents – and a mind for solving murder …

The fairest of them all …

Lydia Wang is the newly crowned winner of a local beauty pageant – and the queen of mean. Used to getting what she wants, she tussles with Persia over the store’s newest acquisition: the Mirror of Aphrodite. Reflecting only the most beautiful aspects of the person looking into it, the mirror is a huge draw and definitely not for sale – no matter how much Lydia is willing to pay. Persia arrives at the shop the next morning to find Lydia dead, the mirror missing, and one of the shop’s treasured employees the prime suspect. Trevor’s arrest is a blemish on the shop, so Persia decides to take matters in hand. To clear his name, she must sniff out the signature scent of a killer …

India Ink – A blush with death

The second book in this lovely trilogy, I enjoyed it thoroughly!

A blush with death

In Gull Harbor, Washington, the local bath and body store – Venus Envy – takes care of all the town’s beauty needs, from custom-blended oils to relaxing spa services. And behind the counter sits Persia Vanderbilt, the niece of the proprietor, who has a nose for mixing scents – and a mind for solving murder …

There’s only one # 1…

There’s a new makeover maven in town, and she spells big trouble for everyone at Venus Envy. Bebe Wilcox has just unveiled her own boutique, and she won’t stop until her shop has put everyone else out of business. Nothing is out of bounds, from stealing fragrance recipes to computer hacking and sabotaging supplies. But when one of Bebe’s pushy saleswomen ends up dead, the stakes become much more dangerous. Staging a public falling out with her Auntie, Persia gets hired at Bebe’s Boutique and begins snooping for evidence of wrongdoing. But can she find the goods before the killer decides to find her?

India Ink – Glossed and Found

The last book in this wonderful trio. I really am sorry there will be no more books in this series.

Glossed and found

In Gull Harbor, Venus Envy is the place for the island’s beauty needs. And employee Persia Vanderbilt is the expert on al things cosmetic, from hiding flaws to highlighting foul play.

Muder is never pretty …

When Venus Envy’s new makeup artist vanishes on the night of the Thanksgiving Gala, Persia knows that something is terribly wrong. Lisa Tremont’s car is soon found near Lookout Pier and the police conclude that she drowned – but Persia refuses to believe it. For one thing, Lisa was terrified of water and would never have gone out on a pier by herself. For another, Lisa had just confided to Persia that she’d found out what happened to some missing inheritance money belonging to her and her sister. Could Lisa have been about to reveal the identity of the thief? Working off the clock to find out what happened, Persia must also fend off escalating threats from her ex, Elliot, as the holidays close in …

I read those three books back to back, and loved every page of them. Persia Vanderbilt and her Aunt Florence are the main characters in this book. When her mother died, her father left Persia (age 4) at the door of her aunt, and never thought about her again. So Florence raised her, travelling the world with her and her nanny, until at age ten, they settled down in Gull Harbor, just across the bay from Seattle.
Florence is an eccentric, living in a house full of kats and dogs and a rooster, she never married, and that was not for lack of prospects, but because she choose not to. She wears mu’u mu’us and a purple hat with a stuffed parakeet on it. But she loves Persia likes her own daughter, and raiser her a strong woman.

Persia is also not your average heroin. She doesn’t lack in self esteem, has a degree in bio chemistry and knows what she doesn’t want in life. She loves working out and out door sports, the more extreme the better. She is strong, tall and pretty, with long hair she keeps in a braid.

If you think there is nothing more in life for a woman to want than a man for her own and marriage, this series really is nothing for you. Persia doesn’t understand the lack of self-esteem in most woman, even her pretty best friend Barbara suffers from it when her husband Dorian doesn’t pay enough attention to her.

When this series begins, Persia has moved back to Gulf Harbor to her aunt, who gives her a job making scents for their customers, when her long time boyfriend Elliot has been arrested for fraud and embezzling money. She wants nothing more to do with that loser, and certainly won’t risking his mafia bosses to come after her for revenge on Elliot!

The local chief of police still has the hots for her, but she is not interested in him. But Bran, a kind of mystique who is also into a lots of sports, he does rock her boat! So they start a casual relationship, both knowing it will never become more than that, but enjoying each other for as long at it last. Friendship with benefits kind of.

I totally love the interaction between Auntie and Persia, the look they have on life, their friends.

In the first book, Lydia Wang is found murdered in their shop, and Trevor, her former boyfriend, is the main suspect. But Lydia was hated all over, so Persia has to find out who really did it. And who stole the mirror? Trevor certainly did it, someone just framed him for convenience. But Kyle has no other option that arrest Trevor, as all the evidence points to him. Bit by bit, Persia unravels Lydia’s history, the fact that she won a large beauty contest leads to other clues, but nothing seems to be conclusive. And how about the secret boyfriend in Seattle, the one who got her bruised up?
And in the end, the real murderer was not some one I would have suspected.

In the second book, Venus Envy is almost destroyed by the actions of a competitor. She uses inferior products but manages to smear Venus Envy’s good reputation with vicious and untrue gossip. Persia’s book with recipes for the scents she creates is stolen, their rosegarden is destroyed by pesticides, their computer is hacked and their files destroyed. And while Persia is manning a booth at a Beauty convention, she meets a man who really makes her feel sparks. But he has troubles of his own, Bebe Wilcox has stolen a formula from his company, setting them years back in research, and just destroying his company. So when the thief is found shot and dies later, both Persia and Killian are prime suspects in the murder case.
Persia and Florence stage a fall out between them and Persia goes to work for Bebe, trying to find evidence for the espionage and sabotage she can take to court. But when she finds more than she thought, her own life is in danger when Bebe finds her in her office.

The third book is not a murder case, but still a mystery. Lisa goes missing after she went to meet the person she thinks stole her fathers money. Her sister Amy is frantic with worry, and Kyle, the chief of police and her new boyfriend, just doesn’t have the manpower to start a thorough search. If it was a missing child, he could, but not for a grown woman who perhaps just went of with a boyfriend for the weekend.
But then Lisa’s car is found near the beach, a place she never would have gone to willingly. Persia doesn’t believe she drowned, and Bran and his sister Daphne also tell her they feel she is still alive, somewhere. And soon the suspicion falls a the woman who nursed the father in his final months, and who is now nursing some one else’s wife … She has a bad history, but again, they cannot prove anything, so Persia goes out to find the evidence.

But her former boyfriend Elliot has gone crazy. He attacks their shop, throwing rocks through the shop window, endangering their clients, and Persia loses it. She attacks him, gives him a bloody nose and a black eye. So she ends up with assault charges, and when Elliot gets out with bail, he comes after her with a gun! She stood have by him, she was his, she never should have left him! But he was a crook, and she was never in love with him, never promised him anything! She is safe, Elliot is arrested at last, but then he escapes with three other prisoners, and now Persia is in danger once again!

Between the stress of her missing friend Lisa, the crazy Elliott, there still is time for thanksgiving, to enjoy her friends.

I really am sorry there will be no more books with those characters in it, just like the Chintz ’n China books I love so much. I think Yasmine Galenorn has a real knack for books like that, though I also love her Sisters of the Moon series, which are totally different.

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