As fans of this entertaining series already know, Charlotte LaRue is no stranger to messy situations. As owner of her own New Orleans cleaning service, 60-year-old Charlotte has found herself mixed up in many of her eccentric clients' problems as she tidies their homes.

This time, Charlotte finds herself unwittingly working for the mob when she agrees to help the desperate friend of a regular client. Soon after she arrives at Robert Rossi's Garden District manse, she regrets her decision. From all appearances, the man is a violent wife abuser whom everyone either hates or fears. Willing her assignment to be over quickly, Charlotte is shocked at the end of the evening to find Rossi dead and his wife, Emily, holding the knife. Although Emily is quickly arrested for the murder, Charlotte knows there's more to this crime, including suspicious guests, missing Faberge eggs and other dirty laundry, and she sets out to find the real killer and clear Emily's name.

This is a delightful book. Charlotte is an engaging sleuth who takes the reader along with her as she deftly works to find and make sense of the clues that will lead her to the killer. The New Orleans setting, along with an entertaining ensemble of characters -- from bodyguards to Mafia wives and offspring -- help to keep the reader rapidly turning the pages to see whodunit. (Jan., 245 pp., $22.00)
Reviewed by: 
Stephanie Schneider