For Tallulah Graver, marrying wealthy Waldo Phillips seemed like the best way out of the family business, the Graver Funeral Home. But when her marriage falls apart and Tallie is left with next to nothing, she turns to cleaning houses to make ends meet. As humbling as it is to tidy the mansions of the snobby socialites she used to call friends, at least she doesn’t have to be around dead bodies. Until . . .
She discovers one of her employers lying in a closet with a knife sticking out of her chest. This unpleasant shock seems to be part of a web of weird experiences: Tallie’s friend Gina’s shop is broken into, her ex is stun-gunned where it hurts the most, and now she’s receiving flowers from the dead woman. Granted the deliveryman is handsome, but seriously, that’s enough to cast a pall over anyone’s day. Now Tallie needs to dig deep to clean up this mess–before she finds herself in a grave situation.
As luck goes, Tallie Graver really has none. She married a colossal jerk, she divorced said colossal jerk, colossal jerk got nearly everything in the divorce which has left Tallie cleaning the homes of the people she once called friends in order to make ends meet. As happiness goes, Tallie Graver has a lot! Getting out of her loveless marriage was the best thing she ever did for herself, and though she’s once again living at home, working part time for her family’s funeral home, and cleaning houses for a living, Tallie has never been happier.
Tallie will be the first to admit, she wasn’t the nicest of humans while married to her ex and his money. Since the divorce, Tallie has been working hard to correct that behavior and make amends to those she wronged in the past. One of those people is the town sheriff who has no love for Tallie and even less so when she calls in a crime scene involving her sleazy ex-husband. The sheriff’s intense dislike and suspicion of Tallie only increases when, just day’s after the attack on her ex, Tallie calls in a murder in the home of one of her clients.
Damn! Can’t a newly divorced girl catch a break??
As it happens, no! With one surly, injured ex and a dead client, Tallie (and the sheriff!) feel it’s in her best interest to lay low. Trouble is, death and taxes wait for no man. Tallie already has the death, and the hot new guy who has been following her around is the tax man, and the news he has for Tallie isn’t encouraging. Though she wasn’t aware of the situation, Tallie’s ex seems to have gotten into a load of trouble with the IRS and if Tallie can’t track down his hidden funds, he isn’t the only going to be held responsible for the monster bill that will come due.
Though the trouble with her ex and the dead client feel like they shouldn’t be related, Tallie surmises they are indeed related and if she can solve one mystery, she can solve both and save her own hide. With the hot tax man by her side, Tallie begins to poke around, snoop, take things that look like evidence, and generally cause the sheriff a great deal of grief. As these things tend to go, the guilty don’t care for the innocent poking around in their business which leads Tallie down the path to ever more trouble. By the time all is said and done, Tallie has most of the town in an uproar, more than one guilty person running scared, and the sheriff regularly threatening to put her in jail. Not a bad day’s work for a house-cleaning divorcee.
The Bottom Line: You know what? I liked this book a lot!! Tallie Graver is what my granny would have called plucky and I sure appreciate that quality in a girl. Once she got out from under (literally and figuratively) her sleazy ex, Tallie decided to live her life on her terms, and that’s when Tallie Graver became a decent and interesting human being 😊 Getting involved in mystery solving wasn’t where Tallie saw her life going, but it turns out, she’s pretty good, much to the sheriff’s great displeasure. What really hooked me with this book is all the crazy; from one page to the next it’s a matter of “What fresh hell is this?” and I loved every minute of it. From the outrageous attitudes and behaviors of the wealthy to the antics of the not so wealthy and desperate, this cozy mystery has a bit of everything including a bit of romance that is sure to continue in the next installment of the series. In all, a fine start to a new series!