Customer Reviews: The Curse of the Holy Pail: An Odelia Grey Mystery (The Odelia Grey Mysteries Book 2)
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on June 6, 2003
Heroine: Abundant

Sassy, classy, large and in charge. That's corporate paralegal Odelia Grey for you in a nutshell. But if you crave a little more information on her you might be interested to also know that she owns a green pet cat named Seamus. (Yes, really!) And her curiosity, impulsiveness, and a knack for being in the right place but at the wrong time, lead her into some hair-raising situations.
Fortunately Odelia's a sharp cookie and can think her way out of most predicaments, and for those she can't get out of on her own she has a great group of friends to provide back-up.
What worked for me:

I had a blast taking a joy-ride in Odelia's head. She's very perceptive and has a great sense of humor.
The mysteries keep you guessing, but aren't so difficult as to be off-putting to non-mystery buffs.
Her gentleman friend Greg was quite yummy and his appearance in the story offered a nice touch of romance for fans of that genre.
Size-wise Odelia is middle-aged, quite short and rather round. She's been working for a long time at accepting herself, and her support group Reality Check has been very helpful in making that happen. I'm glad that Odelia is starting to speak up for herself and is learning not to be cowed by clothing sales clerks afflicted with superiority complexes!
What didn't work for me:

I didn't mind it because it's both a cause dear to my heart as well as an integral part of the story, but some folks who aren't into the size acceptance movement might feel uncertain about that part of the first book. However, size is not the main issue in the second story. And it's certainly no reason not to pick up this excellent series.
I hate cliffhangers in series, but that's what keeps people coming back for more!

Packed with clever humor, vibrant prose, sympathetic characters, and brilliant mysteries, the Odelia grey series is the total package and is highly recommended for fans of mystery and romantic suspense.
Warning: there are some steamy scenes here and there in this story.
If you liked the Odelia Grey mystery series, you might also enjoy the Southern Sisters mystery series, the Josephine Fuller mystery series, the Stephanie Plum mystery series, "Death by Dessert", "The Gumshoe Girls", "Lady Blue", "Teacher's Pet", "Love by the Pound", "Etta Mae's Little Theory" or "Good in Bed".
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on September 8, 2003
This book is excellent reading for everyone who enjoys a good murder mystery but beware, don't try to figure it out! SueAnn Jaffarian knows how to twist and turn the story around making you guess the final outcome up to the very end of the book.
I suggest you also get the first book (Too Big To Miss) so you know who you are dealing with - a cleaver, big-sized snoop who can get herself into trouble at the drop of a cookie. The Holy Pail continues the adventures of Odelia Grey and her acrimonious pursuit of whatever gets in her way!
Read On and have fun!
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on May 12, 2004
Sue Ann Jaffarian has captured cleverness and wit in this larger-than-life mystery series. This book, The Curse of the Holy Pail, is the second in the fast-paced and funny series featuring plus-sized Odelia Grey. Move over, Stephanie Plum, Odelia can eat your lunch! Odelia Grey is a Big Beautiful Woman who works as a paralegal and solves twisty mysteries with a lotta style. Through the well-constructed plot involving family, boss, boyfriend, old TV shows and a rare and collectible lunch box with a now-dead owner, Odelia navigates the sparkling waters of murder and comic mayhem in full sail. She will keep you on the funny edge of mystery and wanting more when it's solved. I have it on very good authority that the third Odelia Grey is in progress, and I can't wait for it. Way to go, Sue Ann Jaffarian!
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HALL OF FAMEon September 2, 2003
Odelia Grey surely doesn't think of herself as a detective. She's just a paralegal with a keen eye for research. She's also a large sized woman who loves Girl Scout chocolate mint cookies. This is the second of a series of mystery books in which she plays sleuth. The first book is called "Too Big to Miss" and the title is self-explanatory. I loved it. The title of "The Curse of the Holy Pail," however, needs a bit more explaining.
The mystery in this book is centered on lunch pail -- the kind of lunch pail that collectors pay big bucks for. This particular one has brought misfortune to everyone who ever owned it. And after Odelia does some paralegal work for a client and he winds up murdered, she's thrust into a mystery that totally involves her.
The mystery totally involved me too. I found it hard to put the book down and spent many hours thinking about it and trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together as the plot twisted and turned, new characters emerged, and the complexity of the story deepened. I found it fast paced, humorous and very real. And I especially liked the office setting with all its petty politics.
Some of the characters from the first book are back too. There's best friend Zee who's always advising Odelia to stay out of trouble. There's her wheelchair-bound gentleman friend who wants to marry her. There's a cat named Seamus and a dog named Wainwright. There's also a theme throughout about acceptance. But mostly, it's about turning the pages just to find out what happens next. Highly recommended.
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on July 2, 2003
I really liked "Too Big To Miss" and have been waiting for another book by this author. "The Curse of the Holy Pail" was more than I had anticipated. Ms. Jaffarian has really come into her own, and this book has a depth and width that was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Ran through it in three days!!! It was very clever, well written. I thought it was a great follow up to the first book, was very consistent. It was funny, clever, loved that Mike Steele. That is loved to hate him!!
I highly recommend this book. If you are a lover of the mystery
genre, you'll love this. Not the same, but the flavor of Grafton or Evanovich. Thanks for reading.
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on June 3, 2003
People are killed for many reasons - money, love, drugs, hate - but not many people are killed for a lunch pail, even if it is a one of a kind from a cancelled TV show from the 60's. In Odelia Gray's latest adventure, she feels compelled to investigate the murder of wealthy businessman Sterling Price, who was killed shortly after she was in his office picking up some papers for the law firm she worked for. Price was showing her his prized lunch pail collection, even giving her a Zorro pail, when he showed her the jewel of his collection, Holy Pail, which was the prototype for a lunch pail for the Chappy Wheeler show, an old cowboy show that was cancelled when its star was murdered.
Shortly after Odelia left, Price is found dead and the Holy Pail is missing. Odelia, who really liked Price, begins nosing around and stirs up more secrets than she thought one family could have. At the family home after the funeral, she comes across his ex-fiancé cuddling up to both his son-in-law and his son and finds out that his daughter was plotting to take over his company. Odelia decides that maybe this is a family she really doesn't want to get to know any better. But when her office is trashed and searched and her home is searched as well, she realizes that someone thinks she has the Holy Pail and that, if she doesn't want to be victim number 2, she needs to find both the murderer and the lunch pail. Add in the complication of her boyfriend proposing, her boss getting attacked and having to spend time with her dad and his family, and you have the makings of a very delightful cozy.
This is a fun book; even though you have murder and mayhem, you still sense it doesn't take itself too seriously underneath, and you will find yourself laughing out loud at some of the situations Odelia finds herself in and giving her advice on how to handle people and events.
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on December 17, 2006
In this second adventure of Odelia Grey, the plus size sleuth is back and better ten ever. From the opening paragraph to the exciting climaz, this novel has it all.

Odelia is sent by her boss, Mike 'the pain' Steele, to notarize papers for millionaire client Sterling Price. While there, she gets the grand tour of Sterling collection of vintage lunchboxes. On display are Zorro, Roy Rogers, Hop-a-Long, and even the type Odelia's mother had made her carry- the hated 'Junior Miss'. Sterling proudly shows her the 'holy pail', the protoype from an old TV western star who was murdered in 1949.

After Odelia tells the other people in her office about the collection, Sterling is murdered and the pail is missing. Detective Frye rules out Odelia as a suspect but many shady characters believe that she has the missing pail. Putting herself in danger, she is determined to find whoever murdered Sterling and recover the lost pail.

Jaffarian has a way of making her characters come alive on the page. She draws each one so realistically that each has their own freshness. Jaffarian is a writer with the skills to create believable characters and plots. There are just enough twist and turns that keeps the story flowing effortlessly.

Just Odelia's visit to her father's family is worth the price of admission. In addition, I must not forget a cookie recipe that even I could follow.

Does Odelia solve the murder of Sterling Price? Why is there a curse on the lunch pail? Does she find the 'holy pail'? What lunch pail did Odelia want as a child? How is Odelia's love life going? All the answers and more lie within "The Curse of the Holy Pail". I enjoyed this soft-boiled mystery series by this extremely talented writer. Midnight Ink publisher has a winning series on their hands.
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on July 4, 2011
Some freebies are not even worth their price tag, whilst others (including the Holy Pail) are clearly clever marketing ploys. It is a great read and suckers you in to a 6 book series. Once I finished this book I promptly bought the next in the series. I hope the first will be released on Kindle!
Jaffarian (great name!)knows how to write; she is skilled at dialogue and maintaining the momentum of a story, although can be bogged down with explicating previous adventures and personal histories.
Some of the minor characters can be one-dimensional stereotypes, but the main protagonists are interesting and well-written.
I enjoy cosies and have been hunting for a new series and new writer, I'm really pleased this one came along!
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VINE VOICEon August 1, 2011
Odelia Grey is a plus-sized, 40-something year old, corporate paralegal. Her specialty at the law firm is research, and although she is no PI, she has been known to get herself involved in some sticky situations. Odelia just can't resist the opportunity to solve a mystery. Her younger boyfriend Greg has just proposed to her, and she's feeling like she needs time to think it over. When she is nervous or stressed she overeats.

In this cozy mystery, the second in a series, Odelia is sent over to the offices of Sterling Homes to notarize some documents for the company CEO, Sterling Price. While she is there Mr. Price shows her his lunch pail collection, which includes the rare and most valuable pail, the "holy pail" is the first one made, the Chappy Wheeler. Chappy Wheeler was a television cowboy from the late 1940s who was murdered. Every owner of this lunch pail has ended up dead, and so the pail is said to be "cursed".

Although Odelia is impressed by the "holy pail" and intrigued by its legend, she only has eyes for the Zorro lunch pail which is part of the collection. Later that day a package arrives at the office --the Zorro lunch pail, a gift to Odelia from Sterling Price. Unfortunately, shortly after, Mr. Price turns up dead. He was poisoned, and the valuable Chappy Wheeler lunch pail is missing.

"A gigantic Oreo cookie hung on the front entrance of the Sterling Homes corporate headquarters. I shook my head, removed my sunglasses, and did a double take. This time, I saw a huge black funeral wreath. I made a mental note to call for an eye appointment. Soon."

"A blond, petite, and very chic woman sat on the sofa next to where Jackson Blake stood. She was very pretty, with the sort of fashion magazine looks that money and a good surgeon could maintain for years."

Odelia cannot resist delving into Price's death by asking innocent questions and doing a little snooping on the side. She puts herself in several unsafe situations in the process. There are no shortage of suspects: Stella, Prices fiancee, his unscrupulous adult children, his son-in-law, and even someone from the old Chappy W show.

I loved this cozy mystery. The writing is laugh-out-loud funny, and even when Odelia is in the midst of a dangerous situation there are humorous elements that catch you off guard. The story is centered around everyday life: Odelia's boyfriend, pets, family, and job, with a mystery thrown in making this just a delightful, laughable treat. I highly recommend this light and fun book. I just ordered the first book in the series: Too Big to Miss. There are 5 books in the Odelia Grey mystery series.
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on June 3, 2003
This was even better than the first Odelia Gray mystery and that book was great. Odelia is a riot! Just about everyone can relate to her in some way. I highly recommend this book to anyone. I am an avid reader of mysteries which feature the same character book after book, but I have to tell you, Odelia just knocked V.I. Warshawski to second place!
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