There's a new amateur sleuth in town, and her name is Lacey Smithsonian. Fashion reporter for a D.C. newspaper, Lacey comments on style, or lack thereof. Her stylist, Stella Lake, asks her to investigate colleague Angie Woods' death. Cops say it was suicide, but Stella thinks it was murder. Lacey reluctantly makes inquiries, which soon have her suspecting murder.

The investigation takes an odd turn when Lacey looks into Angie's clients. She ends up embroiled in a scandal involving interns, aides, politicians and pornography. She also encounters Victor Donovan, former police chief of Sagebrush, CO, to whom she was once attracted. Hired by the salon's owners to investigate warehouse thefts, Vic doesn't think Angie was murdered—until another murder raises the stakes and Lacey becomes a target.

The first of Ellen Byerrum's Crimes of Fashion series is fun, fast-paced and thrilling. Lacey is a divine character: original, fresh, exciting, as is the outrageous secondary cast, including Mac the editor, Stella, best friend Brooke and potential beau Vic. Twists and turns keep the mystery unpredictable. (Aug., 288 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Shannon Short