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Just Murdered: A Dead-End Job Mystery    by Elaine Viets order for
Just Murdered
by Elaine Viets
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Millicent's Bridal Salon might not be the best job for Helen Hawthorne, whose memories of her own marriage are less than fond. Whatever romantic notions she might have managed to keep die while catering to demanding brides and their frantic mothers.

Kiki Shenrad is a rich, conniving, socialite and a jealous mother-of-the bride who is determined to ruin her daughter's wedding. When Kiki is murdered at the church on the day of the wedding, Helen becomes the prime suspect. Her prints are all over the daughter's wedding gown which turns out to be the murder weapon. The aging Kiki's money - the only power she had left to control the people around her - gives just about everyone she knew a motive for her murder. The police have plenty of leads, but finding the killer fast is left up to Helen when the police are stymied by the prominent lawyers hired by the wedding party.

Even if she is not arrested for murder, there is another danger to Helen. This high profile case might end up getting Helen's picture in the tabloids where it could be seen by her ex-husband. Years earlier, when she caught the jerk cheating on her with her neighbor, she picked up a crowbar and demolished his car before going on the run to avoid paying him alimony for the rest of her life.

Just Murdered is Viet's fourth in the Dead-End Job Mystery Series. Helen Hawthorne's situation as a runaway divorcée adds an extra complication to the stories. Happier in her small Florida apartment than in the lavish St. Louis suburban house bought by her six-figure-income as an executive accountant, Helen is determined to stay hidden. And her feisty seventy-year-old landlady and neighbors ask no questions about her past, but are always there to back her up when her dead-end jobs land her in trouble.

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