PURSES AND POISON
Haley Randolph is a hoot. There is no way to get through Howell's latest without laughing out loud at least once a chapter. Her hapless heroine, who is brighter than she lets anyone think, entwines herself in hysterical and entertaining shenanigans, and the murder mystery is well crafted, particularly if you're into chick lit.
How did a day that started with ogling the most magnificent purse in the world end in murder? Subbing for a sick server at the department-store employee luncheon and fashion show that her mother's company is catering, Haley figures she might impress her boyfriend, store owner Ty Cameron. Then Ty's ex-girlfriend drops dead in the ladies room and Haley ends up on the suspect list. Even more daunting, for Haley anyway, is how she's going to get her hands on the perfect purse that's been calling her name from $2,000 away. (KENSINGTON, Jul., 304 pp., $22.00)