I know several of you thought this looked like fun when I did the cover reveal – well I can reveal – you were right – it’s hilarious!
Wanda Jean Milton discovers her husband, local exterminator Hilton Milton, dead on her new shag carpet with an Old Hickory carving knife sticking out of his chest. Beside herself over how she’ll remove the stain, and grief-stricken over Hilton’s demise, Wanda Jean finds herself the prime suspect in the case. But she is also a member of “the” local Study Club, a bastion of independent Texas feminism 1960s style. Club President Clara Wyler has no intention of allowing a member to be a murder suspect during her administration. Aided by her younger sister and County Clerk, Mae Ella Gormley; Sugar Watson, the proprietress of Sugar’s Style and Spray; and Wilma Schneider, Army MASH veteran and local RN, the Club women set out to clear Wanda Jean’s name — never guessing the local dirt they’ll uncover in the process.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh, how I enjoyed this little gem! It has all the ingredients I’m looking for in a cozy mystery – murder, humour, great characters, location and time period, just the right length, plus a mystery that keeps you guessing right up to the satisfying end.
Not to mention great writing too! Coming naturally from the setting and the characters, humour bleeds out of the pages like, well, out of a stabbed corpse and onto a shag pile carpet.
When Wanda Jean Milton finds her husband, Hilton Milton, stabbed to death with her best carving knife and bleeding all over her brand new shag pile carpet, she doesn’t expect to be the prime suspect in his murder. Luckily for Wanda Jean, she’s a member of the local women’s Study Club (no one seems to know what, exactly, they study, but no man would dare ask), and Club President Clara Wyler is not about to put up with the situation. Rallying the eclectic Club members, they set out to investigate and deal with things – both finding the murderer, and deciding how one might possibly remove blood stains from a beige shag pile carpet.
Harper does a superb job of capturing the essence of small town Texan attitudes in the 60s, with the breathtaking hypocrisy endemic to an era when appearances were paramount and what went on behind closed doors stayed there, unseen and never discussed – except in private.
Drugs, gambling, cross-dressing, alcohol consumption in a ‘dry’ state, even – shock horror – a dancing preacher! They are all there, if you know where to look.
For those with a sense of humour, highly recommended.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review – all thoughts are my own.
Juliette Harper is the pen name used by the writing team of Patricia Pauletti and Rana K. Williamson. You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet is the first installment of Harper’s debut cozy Study Club Mysteries, an hilariously funny look at the often absurd eccentricities of small town life. The second book, to be released in coming months, is called You Can’t Put a Corpse in a Parade.The droll series, set in the 1960s, is a lighthearted spinoff of Harper’s Lockwood Legacy a nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide. Three of the novels are currently available: Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw, and Alice’s Portrait. The fourth book, Mandy’s Father, will appear in Summer 2015.
And don’t miss Harper’s first foray into the world of the supernatural, Descendants of the Rose, Book 1 in the Selby Jensen Paranormal Mystery series. The second Selby Jensen book, Lost in Room 636 is also scheduled for a Summer 2015 release.
Pauletti, an Easterner of Italian descent, is an accomplished musician with an eye for art and design. Williamson, a Texan, worked as a journalist and university history instructor before becoming a full-time freelance writer in 2002.