Series: A Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #3
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Kensington on 2 July 2013
Pages: 304 pages
Reading Challenges: 2013 Bachelorette Challenge
Hayley Powell, coupon clipper and newspaper columnist, is having a rough couple of days. Her car is totalled, her garage roof destroyed and her hot water system has given up the ghost. Repairs are going to cost her thousands. “Wild and Crazy Couponing” TV show promises sweet salvation as the best coupon clipper wins ten grand. Hayley’s competition however is Candace Culpepper, a not so nice nurse who is determined to win at all costs. Candace upsets lots of people and no one is really that surprised when she winds up dead having been stabbed three times. Officer Donnie may have been left in charge while the real Chief of Police is on holiday but the thought of dealing with any kind of drama gives him a nasty case of shingles. Hayley decides to step in and solve the crime.
Hayley is a bit of a paradox as she is heavily invested in couponing (as a way of saving money) yet can’t transfer those organisational skills to other aspects of her life. She is determined to investigate the crime even though she didn’t really like the woman and the evidence against her friend was very thin. Hayley openly investigates the crime and people seem quite happy to info dump all sorts of things when she questions them – presumably because they have so little faith in Officer Donnie. She is like Superwoman – helping the elderly, getting friends out of prison, singlehandedly taking on a killer and only stopping now and then to whip up tasty meals for her brother. She foolhardily charges into so many situations that she came across as quite immature and I found it hard to connect with her as a character. Few of the secondary characters are really likeable as even Hayley’s friend takes great delight in assaulting a cop in front of her kids. The suspects are uniformly repellent and even though only one was guilty of murder, they all deserved to be taken down a peg or two.
The writing style is very chatty and we get side-tracked often with titbits about secondary characters that don’t always value-add. These digressions affected the flow of the novel especially when combined with Hayley’s columns and her recipes which are scattered throughout the novel. You could argue this is an effective way of giving an insight into Hayley’s life but I found myself skipping over them as they were completely irrelevant to the mystery. Many other cozy mysteries involving food have the recipes at the back so readers can easily access them. With Death of a Coupon Clipper you have to go back through the whole book. This could have been averted if there was a recipe index just under the chapter index at the front of the book.
This is a very light cozy mystery packed with quirky characters and recipes. It is not necessary to have read any of the other novels in the series to fully enjoy this one.