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Dead Roots (Bad Hair Day Mysteries) Hardcover – November 29, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Cohen's compelling seventh mystery to feature Florida hairstylist Marla Shore (after 2004's Died Blonde), Marla is looking forward to introducing her fiancé, detective Dalton Vail, to her extended family at a reunion on Thanksgiving weekend at Sugar Crest, a former plantation, now a reputedly haunted resort hotel that's owned by her aged aunt Polly. When Aunt Polly turns up suffocated in her bed, Marla must put on her sleuthing cap and track down a killer. Historic preservationists, real estate developers, town officials and avaricious heirs all have an interest in Sugar Crest. Between such hair-raising events as encountering ghosts and hearing strange voices and music, Marla is able to relax and enjoy the company of her family and fiancé. Well-developed characters and an intriguing historical background enhance this winning cozy. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Intrepid Marla Shore is up to her elbows in hot water when a rival salon owner turns up dead and shorn. Nancy Cohen has penned another follicle-raising frolic with a wry twist of romance."

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Product Details

  • Series: Bad Hair Day Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; First Edition edition (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758206585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758206589
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,792,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring hairdresser Marla Vail, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list and been selected by Suspense Magazine as best 2014 cozy mystery. The author of over twenty published works, Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery, an easy-to-follow reference on how to write a winning whodunit. Nancy's imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. These books have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews.

A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. She belongs to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and International Thriller Writers. Nancy is past president of Florida Romance Writers and a recipient of their Lifetime Service Award. Currently, she is President of the Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and outlet shopping, plus frequent visits to the salon for research.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beth D VINE VOICE on June 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marla Shore, hairdresser is going to the family reunion that her Aunt Polly has put together at the historic Sugar Crest Plantation Resort. Marla knew this weekend was going to be bad as this was her first time at introducing her fiancee, Detective Dalton Vail to the family. Worrying that they wouldn't accept him because he wasn't Jewish, wasn't as bad as the worry that she had that he wouldn't accept them because they were nutty.

Things got worse when they arrived at the resort to find out that one wing was condemned and off limits, there was a ghost hunter on site, looking for spirits who seemed to be roaming the old plantation.

Then Marla finds out that her Aunt Polly has a secret. It was Polly's Russian father, Andrew Marks, who had come to America after the Russian Revolution, who had once owned the plantation and he had died after a visit from two eerie Cossacks who had disappeared. It had been her mother who finally sold the plantation, but Polly retained the rights to stay at the resort whenever she wanted.

Polly hinted of lost treasure and secret ownership of the hotel, and when she was found suffocated in her bed, Marla knew she would have to unravel her own family history, as well as, the history of the plantation to find if there was a treasure. If they still had a claim on this resort or if the family ghosts were still haunting the place or was it just a current family member who was responsible for both the killings and the hauntings.


Marla has always been a likable character and her relationship with Dalton Vail and his thirteen year old daughter, Brianna has always been very believable. Marla has had some trauma in her younger days and a bad marriage which made her wary of both men and of having children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Dowdle VINE VOICE on February 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Marla Shore and her fiancé Detective Dalton Vale head off on a much-needed vacation. Marla is excited as she will be introducing Dalton to many of her extended family. They are going to a family reunion at the Sugar Crest Resort. Her Aunt Polly arranged the reunion.

Turns out Marla's relatives once owned the place and it is now supposedly haunted by some of her past relatives. Apparently Polly wanted to right some wrongs and uncover family secrets by having the reunion there. Unfortunately, Aunt Polly is found dead before she can do much more than ask Marla to look for some old letters and gems. Marla is not sure they really exist, but her curiosity gets the best of her.

When a workman falls to his death, Dalton believes the death to be murder. The house doctor lists it as an accident. Unfortunately, the local police believe the house doctor and not Dalton. This just spurs Marla on further in her investigation. Dalton is doing some investigating as well. When they discover that Aunt Polly's death wasn't a natural death, things really heat up.

Can Marla help Dalton uncover the truth without anyone else being hurt, including herself?

I really enjoy this series. Marla is such a likeable character. Most of the books are set in and around her Florida salon. While I enjoy that, this was a nice change. The relationship between Marla and Dalton has really matured and it is fun watching it grow and change through the various books. Marla is a believable sleuth. She does get herself into some scary situations, but she has a level head most of the time.

I highly recommend this book and the whole series.
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Format: Hardcover
This Bad Hair Day mystery novel has everything! Murder, mystery, family history, ghost busters, greed, evil motives, Russian royalty, psychic predictions, Nazi's, hidden treasure--you name it.

Marla Shore, owner of the Cut 'N Dye hair salon, and part-time sleuth is heading to the Florida coast with her unflappable police detective fiance, Dalton Vail for the first Marks family reunion.

Three generations of Marks from all over the U.S. and Canada are gathering at the haunted luxury resort created by the family patriarch, Andrew Marks, whose ghost is said to inhabit the halls guarding his secrets. This could be the family's last opportunity to connect with their heritage through this resort as it is in jeopardy of being redeveloped into an amusement park.

Marla's Aunt Polly, keeper of the family secrets, alludes to the mystery surrounding Andrew Marks' death, the visitation of mysterious strangers right before his death, the rumors of treasure, and secretive documents.

Aunt Polly publicly opposes Marla's engagement to someone outside the faith, further dividing family loyalties and skewing motives.

Aunt Polly ends up murdered, despite having secretly fought the good fight with cancer. Family secrets are peeled away one member at a time while forecasting the future for Sugar Crest resort.

Armchair Interviews says: If you love a good mystery with humor running throughout, this is for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not reading these in order but of the three I've read, this is the best. It has a paranormal edge which I do not enjoy but it is well written and the 'spirit' aspect is not the critical piece of the book.
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