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High Heels are Murder (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – November 7, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elaine Viets has actually worked those dead-end jobs in her mystery novels,just like her character, Helen Hawthorne. Over the years, Elaine has been a dress store clerk, phone book proofreader, babysitter, telemarketer, bookseller, and weed puller at fifty cents a bucket.  She is also the author of the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series and numerous short stories. Elaine has won an Anthony Award and an Agatha Award. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her husband, author and actor Don Crinklaw.  Please visit her blog: The Lipstick Chronicles.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451219880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451219886
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

How do you like your mysteries? Hardboiled, with a blood chaser? Warm and cozy? Or funny and traditional, with all the clues, and some good laughs? My four mystery series have something for every reader.

I started dark with the Francesca Vierling mysteries, set at a newspaper. My Dead-End Job mysteries are funny and traditional. The Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper mysteries are sweetly cozy.

Now I'm going back to the dark side. I'm starting a dark series featuring Death Investigator Angela Richman. Death investigators work for the medical examiner. They take charge of the body, photographing it, documenting the wounds, and more. The police investigate the rest of the crime scene.

Why return to this gritty world?

Because I like variety, and know you do, too. My first mystery series featured Francesca Vierling, a six-foot-tall St. Louis newspaper columnist. I wrote four hardboiled Francesca mysteries.

Tough, glamorous Francesca drives an '86 Jaguar. She investigates the murder of a transvestite in Backstab and the death of a RUB, a rich urban biker, in Rubout. In The Pink Flamingo Murders, Francesca looks into a murder that would horrify anyone fighting to improve a rundown city neighborhood: a ruthless gentrifier is stabbed with a pink plastic flamingo. Got her right in the heart with the bird's metal legs. In Doc in the Box, bad doctors get the deaths they deserve.

The Francesca series ended after four books, but readers still enjoy it. This May, a New Yorker with lymphoma told me she gave Doc in the Box to her oncologist as a gift - or a warning. (PS: The reader is making a remarkable recovery.)

After the hardboiled Francesca series, I worked dead-end jobs until my agent sold Shop Till You Drop, my first Dead-End Job mystery. This series features Helen Hawthorne, a St. Louis woman on the run in South Florida. Now I was back writing traditional mysteries, cheerfully slaughtering bad bosses and annoying customers.

Helen works a different low-paying job each novel, and I've worked most of them. In Shop Till You Drop, Helen sells bustiers to bimbos. Murder Between the Covers, set at a bookstore, is one of my favorite jobs. Helen and I worked as telemarketers for Dying to Call You. That was my worst job ever - I sold septic tank cleaner. In Just Murdered, Helen and I work in the bridal department of a posh store and survive attacks by crazed bridezillas. I loved working at an upscale dog boutique for Murder Unleashed. Helen and I were hotel housekeepers for Murder with Reservations. We learned hotel secrets, including never use a hotel coffee pot. Spend twenty bucks for room service coffee. You‛ll thank me.

For Clubbed to Death, Helen and I were in "customer care" at a snooty country club whose motto was "Do you know who I am?"

Killer Cuts takes place at a hair salon where a color and cut are $300. Half-Price Homicide is set at a consignment shop where trophy wives sell their designer duds. It‛s the only way they can get cash from their controlling husbands.

In Pumped for Murder, Helen's tenth adventure, she opens a private eye agency, Coronado Investigations. That opens new possibilities to keep the series fresh. Helen still works those low-paying jobs, only now she goes undercover as a PI.

Final Sail, set aboard a 143-foot yacht, gives a crew's eye view of floating luxury. Board Stiff is the ultimate beach book set in the cutthroat world of beach concessions, including paddleboarding.

Catnapped! was fun to write, but poor Helen goes undercover in the world of cat shows and learns how to wash a long-haired cat. (You start with Goop. Seriously.) Checked Out is a library lover‛s dream. Helen and I volunteered at our local library.

Once the Dead-End Job series was launched, Penguin asked me to write a cozy series featuring a mystery shopper, Josie Marcus. My mother was a mystery shopper, so I was born to write this series. Besides, it would only be for three books.

Josie happily mystery-shops everything from handbags (Dying in Style) to lingerie (An Uplifting Murder). Then I turned in A Dog Gone Murder, where Josie mystery-shops dog day care. Think your pup is romping on the grassy green lawns you see on the Website? Josie says you should tour the day care center in person.

With A Dog Gone Murder, I realized my three-book series was now ten books.

I enjoyed writing all those mysteries, but I missed the dark side. Even cozies aren‛t all kittens and cupcakes. Miss Marple, the fluffy knitter who declared "I am Nemesis," relentlessly brought killers to justice.

But I was thirsting for blood. And hardheaded forensics. To return to the dark side, I took the MedicoLegal Death Investigators Training Course for forensic professionals, given by St. Louis University's School of Medicine.

The intense training gave me the latest forensic information. Look at the agenda for one morning, taught by medical examiners and pathologists:

Gunshot wound fatalities, explosion-related deaths, motor vehicle fatalities and drowning. At lunch we watched a teen driving and alcohol video

After lunch was alcohol-related deaths, suicide, blunt-trauma fatalities and more.

I didn‛t want to write a dark series with the same old protagonists: the retired cop learning to live with his heart-wrenching divorce or the private eye who drinks to kill "the big hurt." Other writers have done those novels, and done them well.

Angela Richman is one of a kind. Janet Rudolph, head of Mystery Readers International, says she believes there are no other series featuring death investigators.

Angela lives in mythical Chouteau County, just west of St. Louis. The rich live in the town of Chouteau Forest, a bastion of old money. The workers live in Toonerville. But death doesn‛t discriminate between the rich and the poor. Angela works cases for the super-wealthy as well as the poor. She believes the dead can talk, and it‛s her job to examine, photograph and document their bodies, so they can tell her when and how they died. The Angela Richman series is dark, but it's not as gruesome as Patricia Cornwell‛s novels. It's closer to Kathy Reich's Tempe Brennan mysteries.

Brain Storm, the first Angela Richman mystery, will be published by Thomas & Mercer in late summer, 2016. The second will be out in 2017.

And my 15th Dead-End Job mystery, The Art of Murder, set at a quirky South Florida museum, will be published in May 2016. It‛s available for pre-order now as a hardcover and an e-book.

I like writing about Helen Hawthorne's lighthearted adventures in South Florida, as well as Angela Richman‛s visits to the dark side.

I enjoy the best of both worlds: Light and dark. I hope you will, too.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Josie Marcus, professional shopper, gets in the middle of another murder. She goes into a high end shoe store and discovers the wonderful salesperson really, I mean really likes shoes.

The busybody neighbor wants Josie to help her daughter, a longtime rival of Josie's because police suspect her in the murder of "the creepy salesman."

Excellently written. This book moves along quickly through the darker side of life in St. Louis.

I highly reccommend this book. If you like Elaine Viets, you will love this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mystery shopper Josie Marcus returns for yet another entertaining and intriguing mystery installment, "High Heels Are Murder," which, initially, starts off innocently enough with Josie being hired to discover if there was something really nasty about Soft Shoe's top salesman, Mel Poulaine, handling of the female customers' feet and shoes. The last thing Josie expected was that her report would have repercussions that would impact on her personally.

For as long as she can remember, Josie's detestable nosy neighbour, Mrs. Mueller, has looked down her nose at her. And for as long as she can remember, Mrs. Mueller's only daughter, Cheryl (who just happens to be the same as age as Josie) has been held up as a standard of perfection to which Josie could never aspire. So that when Mel Poulaine, the shoe salesman that Josie had exposed as a foot fetishist, and who was fired from his job because of his inappropriate behaviour towards customers, is found murdered in his home, the last thing Josie expected was for Mrs. Mueller to come knocking on her door, begging for her help. Bizarrely enough, Cheryl, Mrs. Mueller's perfect daughter, is the prime suspect in Mel's murder -- and not only that, but the police are also sure that Cheryl and Mel were having a sexual relationship. Mrs. Mueller is sure that this is not the case and that Cheryl is a victim of circumstance, ands she wants Josie to help prove Cheryl's innocence. Agreeing to help only if Mrs. Mueller agrees to get her mother the chair of two committees her mother has had an eye on for decades, Josie sets off, with her best friend, Alyce, in tow, to discover who hated Mel enough to kill him, and finds herself uncovering all kinds of dark secrets, addictions and perversions that the rich and powerful would kill to protect...
Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Mystery Shopper series gets better with each installment. This time Josie, the amateur sleuth is trailing the murderer of a shoe salesman with a foot fetish. For added fun, Josie discovers that her snobby childhood rival is involved in a most embarrasing way. Don't we love to take down the Miss Perfects in our lives! Elaine Viets, a longtime St. Louis columnist, writes with authentic local flavor and humor. This is not heavy literature-- it's just a funny and entertaining page turner.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
St. Louis Mystery Shopper Josie Marcus can't believe it when Mel, the sleazy shoe salesman who lost his job because of her report, is murdered. She is even more amazed when Cheryl, the "oh so perfect" daughter of her next door neighbor, is accused of the murder. Cheryl's mother convinces Josie to investigate and prove her daughter is innocent. The deeper Marge gets into the case, discovering more about who Mel really was, the connection between Mel and Cheryl, the meetings Cheryl has with men in motel rooms, and Cheryl's gambling addiction, the harder it is to believe in Cherly's innocence. With the help of her good friend Alyce, Josie finds other potential suspects but has no proof of who murdered Mel or why until the murderer actually reveals him/herself at the end of the book.
Intertwined with the mystery is Josie's life as a single mother dealing with the changing moods of a nine year old daughter, living in a downstairs apartment from her own mother, and depending on her mother for help with childcare. Could love really have finally found her again after a devastating end to her relationship with her daughter's father?
High Heels are Murder is fun read, well proofed. The story is followed by interesting information about how to find and choose the perfect shoes.
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Elaine Viets has a way of writing about human foibles that is spot on and, at the same time, amusing! I don't know how she does it! She can even make the annoyances in life, like nosy neighbors, hilarious. Her main character, Josie Marcus who does mystery shopping for a living, is a lovable young single mother. She has a good head on her shoulders and manages her hectic life with panache. We're always rooting for her! In this story she encounters a weird shoe salesman with a foot fetish. There are such people! I remember one on the TV show, "The Bachelorette." But the one in this story becomes a murder victim, and he turns out to be a big surprise. I've read all the Dead-end Jobs series that Elaine Viets writes, so I decided to give her Mystery Shopper series a try. This one is set in St. Louis and allows the reader quite a glimpse of that old city! Elaine Viets gives us a tour and some lessons in consumer culture.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Kick off those heels , grab this book and get ready for one incredible ride. This second book was even better than the first. Truly a fun and entertaining read, with just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing all the way to the last page. When Josie's nosy next door neighbor Mrs. Mueller comes to her begging for her help when her perfect daughter has been accused of murder. Josie sets out with her best friend Alyce and together they find out just how far the mighty have truly fallen. I highly recommend this series. The only problem I have with these books, is that they are so good I read them cover to cover in just one sitting. Truly the sign of a good book
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