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Handbags and Homicide (A Haley Randolph Mystery Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Dorothy Howell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Haley Randolph is always ready to go to any lengths to get the latest Louis Vuitton. Unfortunately for Haley, her life goes from glam to grim when her passion for fashion outlasts her credit cards, and she's forced to work at Holt's--a mid-market department store. Looking for a bit of shopping inspiration, Haley sneaks into the stock room to get a first glimpse of Holt's one-of-a-kind selection of handbag styles. But instead of the newest Vuitton, Haley discovers her boss is the ultimate fashion victim.

According to the security tapes, Haley was the only person in the stockroom before, during, and after the murder. With everyone in the store eyeing her like last season's Marc Jacobs, Haley turns to the hunky Ty Cameron, who heads up the store's loss prevention unit, to help her investigate the murder. Now her knowledge of hot trends will take her from the sales floor to the boardroom to the gritty streets of L.A.'s Garment District as she searches for a killer with impeccable fashion taste. . .

"A winning debut. . .a cool cliffhanger will leave readers eager for Haley's next adventure." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Fashionistas take note: Dorothy Howell's delightful Handbags and Homicide dangles shopping to die for and a murder in store in a breezy debut mystery as sure to please as a Notorious handbag." --Carolyn Hart, author of Death Walked In

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Howell's winning debut introduces Haley Randolph, a self-described crazed, obsessive, handbag whore, whose designer bag addiction has put her into mega–credit card debt. After Haley loses her accounting job with a prestigious Los Angeles law firm because of suspected embezzlement, she takes a part-time job during the Christmas season at Holt's Department Store, where she connects with Ty Cameron, the store's gorgeous young owner. When Haley becomes a murder suspect after finding the corpse of Holt's despised assistant manager, she resolves to find the true killer. Haley's amusing narrative voice energizes the crime solving and canoodling (Oh my God, what was I thinking? I couldn't have sex with Ty Cameron to keep my job—I could under other circumstances, of course—but not for a job at Holt's). Reminiscent of Reese Witherspoon's character in the Legally Blonde films, Haley evolves from a total airhead into a semi-airhead without breaking a nail. A cool cliffhanger will leave readers eager for Haley's next adventure. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Haley Randolph is a designer-handbag addict. To support her habit, she supplements her job as a finance clerk at Los Angeles law firm Pike Warner with a position at Holt’s, a middling department store. Things go awry when, in the space of a few days, she discovers the Holt’s assistant manager murdered in the storeroom, and stands accused of embezzlement at Pike Warner. To clear her name on both counts, Haley investigates her coworkers with the help of Jack, a sexy PI. She also develops a crush on Ty Cameron, the young scion of the Holt’s chain. Howell, who under the pen name Judith Stacy has written 22 historical-romance novels, now takes on the mystery genre with the first in a series featuring quick-to-learn new sleuth Haley. A twist on the traditional whodunit, this light mystery makes up for a lack of gripping suspense with lots of humor and style. --Aleksandra Walker

Product Details

  • File Size: 517 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0758223749
  • Publisher: Kensington Books; Reprint edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002BTT0T0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,704 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun new series! June 27, 2008
I have to say I usually don't spend money for a hardcover for a first in a new series, but the cover looked so appealing, and the story sounded like fun (I'm a designer purse lover myself), so I bought it and am I glad I did. I laughed out loud so many times my husband kept coming into the living room asking me what was so funny!

Haley Randolph is a delight, as is her best friend, Marcie Hanover. Haley's a young gal(twenty-something) that finds herself involved in two police investigations (one a murder). After being placed on a non-paid leave from her day job (at a law firm), Haley takes a part-time job in a department store, and this is where the fun begins. Haley has an addiction to designer purses, and the things she'll do to get one, is just a riot.

I particularly loved the part of this story that dealt with the department store. From the cute owner of Holt's Department the other workers (both nice and nasty ones), Haley's thoughts and comments about different situations she's in or observes is just hysterical. It's rare that a writer can pull off a character like this, IMO. Either they sound like total idiots, or they sound like nasty you-know-what's, but the author has done a wonderful job with Haley. You really will like Haley and root for her as she's put in situations that seem like she'll never be able to overcome.

This mystery, in addition to having lots of fun moments with Haley, is a true cozy mystery. There's plenty of clues and red-herrings, and the story moves along at a good pace. I really had no clue, until the end, who was responsible for the crimes that are committed in this novel.

Dorothy Howell is a wonderful writer. She's written a great mystery...
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A wasted idea April 13, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book because Amazon recommended it based upon my previous ratings of the countless (okay, I could count on my account page but I'm not going to) books I've read. Boy were they wrong.

I wish there was a "I loathe this book and cry for the trees that died so that it could be printed" option in the star rating section (and could I please give it a negative rating?).

The lead character, Haley Randolph, is everything that is wrong with our society now--she is self-absorbed, suffering from grand delusions and has a totally undeserved sense of entitlement. She hasn't worked in a job for any amount of time in her life but is too good to work retail to support her designer handbag (hence the title) and credit card habits. She is rude. She is stupid. Yeah, she solved the two mysteries--big whoopie: I solved the secondary having to do with her "main job" before Chapter 6 (less than 50 pages) and solved the so-called "big" mystery long before halfway through.

The dialogue is not bad and the author does set a good scene.

However, her characterizations are nothing but one-dimensional (that's right, they aren't even TWO dimensional) and, with the exception of Jack (who you see for limited time) generally unlikeable.

I had high hopes for this; I mean, I really need a new series to pick up on.

This isn't it. I recycle my books by sending them to a friend's brother's armed forces unit overseas. I am considering putting a note in this one suggesting they use it for interrogations but I'm afraid Amnesty International would scream about the torture.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real struggle March 1, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I struggled through 100 pages of this book, and I mean struggled. Then I tossed it in my recycle bin. This character, Haley Randolph, is about as shallow as can be. She is so far in debt because of her handbag fetish, and she is always trying to get out of whatever work she can possibly get out of. She whines about her finances but then buys more handbags...geesh. I'm totally surprised about people actually giving this book anything more than a one star.
I can handle a little whining and a little self indulgence, heck that's part of being a woman, but this book and character are way over the top, to the point where it isn't interesting, isn't funny, but is boring and a waste of time. Whew...I've never written a review about any book I've read. If I don't like a book I very quietly put it in my recycle bin and move on, but couldn't pass on this one. There are too many fun cozies out there to read don't waste your time or money on this one. Try Denise Swanson; Joanne Carl; Claudia Bishop; Elise Hyatt; Christine Collier; Gail Oust; Lucy Lawrence or Jennie Bentley just to name a few authors that are great reading, fun characters and terrific who-done-its that you will enjoy, giggle and sometimes just plain laugh out loud. Sorry Dorothy Howell, you just have to lighten up on the whining and give Haley some kind of a work ethic, she's pathetic.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally Pointless July 11, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was looking forward to reading back to back chick lit mysteries. After finishing up the Lacy Fields novels from Janice Kaplan, I moved on to the Haley Randolph series from Dorothy Howell. The first, Handbags and Homicide, sounded like it could provide enough entertainment, but it definitely fell flat with me. The heroine Haley reminded me of Sophie Kinsella's shopaholic, Rebecca Bloomwood, but without the likeability. She's in massive debt, has an addiction to designer handbags, and working at a minimum wage position in a low scale retail store. Instead of finding some sort of work ethic and paying off debts, she continues to slouch through life, racking up extreme credit card purchases and showing no sign of changing. That alone put me off, but then comes the mystery part. When Haley finds the retail store's assistant manager dead in the stockroom, she becomes a suspect in the crime. She sets off her own half-assed investigation, which I found to be pointless and overly long-winded, and eventually the real killer was uncovered and I could finally stop reading this book. I knew right away I wasn't going to like this story when Haley finds her deceased boss, then walks away from him and decides she needs to buy another purse. What?? The supporting characters were not well written, most times I couldn't decipher between characters or couldn't remember who they were and why they were being talked about. I couldn't finish this novel fast enough, and have zero interest looking into any of the other Haley Randolph books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars "Light & Fluffy" with Series Potential
I call this type of book "light and fluffy". Thankfully, I was in the right mood (earlier in 2014) and it had some funny moments. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Corduroy
4.0 out of 5 stars It moved along nicely as a light read
This was a lively read. It moved along nicely as a light read.
Published 4 months ago by Anita Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read
Published 4 months ago by Peni J Dawes
5.0 out of 5 stars fun mystery
Super cute mystery. Loved the characters...will definitely be continuing the series!! Very similar to the Shopaholic books, but with a murder!
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading
Easy and fun to read series. If you love handbags, shopping or just light reading, try this series.
Published 5 months ago by Judy
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's Add Some Shoes To The Designer Bags
I had read about this book quite awhile ago and kinda blew it off. Then it crossed my path again and I said," oh what the neck" and boy I'm glad I did. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Little D
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It makes u to keep reading it
Published 5 months ago by marie Leiras
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Funny slow start interesting reading
Published 5 months ago by cabbie
4.0 out of 5 stars Handbag loving daughter of a beauty queen
Haley Randolph has many problems, she lies, she doesn't really like people which doesn't go over well in retail, she is late a lot, she is lazy, she lost one job and may lose the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by D.L.Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars A light, fun read!
This book actually made my laugh out loud. Truly. It was pure fun!
Published 6 months ago by Jacqueline King
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More About the Author

Dorothy Howell is the author of 35 published novels. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages with sales approaching 5 million copies worldwide.

She currently writes for two publishing houses, in two genres, under two names.

Dorothy writes the hilarious fashion sleuth Haley Randolph mystery series, available from Kensington Books. She introduces her newest sleuth in the Dana Mackenzie series.

Dorothy also writes historical romance novels under the pen name Judith Stacy. Her titles include a Harlequin Historical Top Seller for the Year, a No.1 on the Barnes & Noble Historical List, and a RITA Award Finalist.

Dorothy is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Like her Dorothy Howell Novels Facebook page. Follow her on Twitter @DHowellNovels. Visit and

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