Publishers Weekly
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Haley Randolph adds a prestigious event-planning job at L.A. Affairs to her part-time Holt's Department Store gig in Howell's enjoyable sixth contemporary California cozy (after 2012's Tote Bags and Toe Rings). Haley's first day has hardly begun, however, before her new boss, Vanessa Lord, has tried to pressure her into resigning. Soon after, she stumbles across a murder victim's body: Lacy Hobbs, of Lacy Cakes, recently hired by L.A. Affairs to bake a six-foot yellow submarine for high-maintenance Sheridan Adams's A-list charity auction. When Sheridan blames Haley for the theft of collectible Beatles bobbleheads, Haley begins to wonder if Vanessa is trying to sabotage her. Initially, Haley seems little more than a handbag-obsessed retail worker, but in the end her fashion tastes and grating verbal tics (e.g., "jeez" and "oh crap") prove less important than her deft ability to size people up, which makes for an unlikely but engaging sleuth. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.