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Publisher's Summary

Sassy salon owner Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn't enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman's coffee creamer. Figuring she'd better expose the real killer before the next victim frizzes out, Marla sets on the trail of a wave of wacky suspects. Her theory regarding whodunit gels only after she looks for the culprit closer to home.

©1999 Nancy J. Cohen (P)2016 Nancy J. Cohen

Critic Reviews

"A terrific mystery debut for Nancy Cohen. Marla the beautician is a delight!" (Tamar Myers, author of the Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries)
"Fast-paced and jaunty."( Publishers Weekly)
" Permed to Death is a beauty of a read. The characters are believable, the mystery is well-plotted, and the suspense is a real manicure-ruiner." ( I Love a Mystery)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly Better Than Anticipated!

Wow! This story was much better than I anticipated, and is timeless. Permed to Death was originally published in 1999; however, it reads just like a current story. The story appears to have been revised and updated.

Told from Marla's POV, Permed to Death was a well planned mystery that was witty, suspenseful, had some humor, and a romantic spark between the Detective Vail and Marla.

Some spoilers/teasers:
Unfortunately for Mrs. Kraitz, (or Marla) Mrs. Kraitz dies while she is getting a perm at Marla's shop. Since only Marla and Mrs. Kraitz were the only two in the beauty shop, Marla is considered a suspect by the Detective Vail but without a solid motive, he must consider other suspects. Marla, who has had an unpleasant history with Mrs. Kraitz wants to find the person who killed her, before damaging evidenced is discovered, and a possible motive is revealed. Even though Marla did not kill Mrs. Kraitz, she feels responsible because it happened in her shop, and she becomes a super sleuth and is determined to find out who did the dirty deed.

Detective Vail is attracted to Marla, and while the investigation is going on, he does ask her out. Even though she is one of his suspects, he knows she is trying to investigate the murder, and cleverly appears when Marla finds herself in need.

This is the first story I've heard narrated by Mary Ann Jacobs, and her performance was really good! She was a great fit for this type of story.

I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a bad day

I enjoy reading/listening to paranormal cozy mysteries. I just recently decided to listen to others that were not paranormal. This book was the first one i have ready by this author and it did not disappoint. i really enjoyed and look forward to reading more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Murder Mystery

I received this audiobook for free for an honest review. I thought Nancy Cohen did a great job with this mystery. She developed the story thoroughly. I was trying to guess what who done it throughout the whole story. When you least expect... The characters were very colorful and detailed. However, could have done without a couple. Got confusing with so many people and how they fit into the story. It also had a bit of comedy to keep you on your toes. I really enjoyed this and will look for more books by Nancy J. Cohen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good twist on a cozy.

Permed to Death is a every well researched and well written book. I really liked all the twists and turns the story takes and I will read the next book. If you are looking for a cozy mystery with a little something different, then this book is for you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Myztikal
  • On the Edge of Glory
  • 03-28-18

A Fantastic First in the Series!

I had actually read book #4 before this one. I liked that, but I didn’t love it. (I was highlighting inconsistencies like crazy.)
As a first book, perhaps this was given multiple revisions before hitting the virtual shelves. Not to be mistaken it’s flawless, but inconsistencies could be more easily overlooked and forgiven (although no way would employees be able to come into a crime scene after the fact.)
Believe it or not, I liked this one more! Maybe it helped that although the death happened almost immediately, you’ll clearly dislike the victim enough, you may have to stop yourself from thinking Thank goodness we’re done with her.
Clues are littered throughout that, although chances are you won’t easily guess, you would wonder why you didn’t see it coming!
In my younger mom days -versus my current younger grandmother days - I frequented my favorite nail/spa salon and remained loyal to my favorite stylist. This had that nostalgia feeling to it and really captures- if not exploits the character into - the ‘typical’ stereotype.
I thank the author who extended the promo code after my initial review and apologize for the length of time for my listen and review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Murder in a salon chair

In Permed to Death by Nancy J. Cohen, Marla Shore comes in to her salon early one day to do the hair of her longtime client, Bertha Kravitz. While waiting for her client’s hair to set, Marla fixes Bertha some coffee, complete with Bertha’s personal can of creamer. Then Marla goes to the back room to get towels, only to hear a gasp. Returning to the main salon room, Marla finds Bertha slumped over, dead. Upon learning that Bertha has been murdered, Marla’s mind flashes back to the age of 19, when a small child she was babysitting managed to get out of her playpen while Marla was fielding a phone call for the parents of the girl and fell into the pool and drowned. A surplus of guilt has influenced her actions ever since. And now, this murder has dredged up another negative part of Marla’s past, for which Bertha had been blackmailing her to get free hair services for years.

Marla finds herself attracted to the detective in the case, Dalton Vail, and he seems interested in her. But Marla knows she must be a suspect since she served Bertha the coffee. Plus, if he digs too deeply, he might uncover her shameful, but not illegal, secret. So Marla decides that she needs to do her own digging to find the truth.

This book was a lighthearted, fun cozy mystery. The setting of the book is creative, and the character of Marla was well-conceived and well-drawn. We see her deal with her Jewish mother, who is anxious for her to marry a Jewish man and holds against Marla the fact that she left her former husband, despite the fact that he was cheating on Marla, because he is Jewish and wealthy.

Mary Ann Jacobs performs the audio edition of the book, making the book really enjoyable. I really like the tone of Jacobs’s voice. With her deep voice, Jacobs adds a unique touch to the book, adding expression without being overly emotive.

Permed to Death is an enjoyable, creative book. It’s very light as a mystery, with an interesting ending. It didn’t draw me into the book quite as much as I would like, but I definitely enjoyed it. I give the book four stars

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Book 1 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries

I loved this book. :-) It's a light and easy book to listen to and it kept me guessing! The main character is very likable, and even though I do not spend time at salons getting my hair done, it is fun to listen to a series that centers around one! The narrator did a really good job with her pace and volume, and she kept my interest throughout. I'm excited that there are more in this series available on Audible! I'm going to buy the next one right now! I recommend this book to those who like cozy mysteries!! Thank you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great start to a series - has it all!

Permed to Death is the first book in Nancy J. Cohen's Bad Hair Day Mystery series. I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

We meet Marla Shore, the owner of the Cut 'N Dye hair salon in Florida, when she comes in early for her not-so-favorite client Bertha Kravitz. She gives Bertha a cup of coffee with her special coffee creamer and leaves the room. When she returns she finds Bertha dead, and the story takes off from there. Marla is the prime suspect in the murder, a fact that seems to surprise and annoy her. However, we find out, little by little, that not only does Bertha have a long list of enemies, Marla has a past she does not want revealed and was in fact being blackmailed by Bertha. And just when we think we have learned all there is to know about Marla – vindictive ex-husband, bossy Jewish mother, business problems – we, and the smug but appealing Detective Dalton Vail, learn yet another detail that keeps Marla #1 on the list of suspects.

So Marla decides to solve the crime herself. She wants to clear her name, protect the secrets of her past, and last but not least also see just where this mutual attraction with the detective might lead.

Marla is your typical cozy mystery amateur sleuth – she has good problem-solving skills and wants to set things right, but is not quite as clever as she thinks she is and recklessly gets herself into danger several times. As she bumbles along we meet an interesting cast of characters, laugh a bit, and feel the relationship with Dalton heating up. We also feel the danger, and clues and details about Marla’s past are revealed like the peeling of an onion. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, something happens and you have to stop and think – who is the killer??

This was a very enjoyable introduction to a series, and perfectly told for an audiobook. Once the action starts it doesn’t stop. The plot is solid. The story is complicated, but not so much so that you can’t follow what is happening. This is especially important for an audiobook, because it’s not that easy to just flip back a few pages to clarify some confusing detail. The setting was authentic; I felt like I was in hot, humid Florida with Marla, and lost myself in the action and the suspense.

Marla and Dalton and her beauty shop employees and friends were believable and interesting enough to make me want to know them better. I care about Marla and want to see where the relationship with Dalton goes and what trouble she might get into next.

The narration was transparent, which I think is critical for an audiobook. When I put in my ear buds I don’t want to be aware of the narrator. Instead, I want to be so caught up in the story that I recognize each character and can’t wait to see what’s next, and that is exactly what happened. I highly recommend this series. I am way behind and intend to catch up with all of Marla’s adventures soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Edge of your seat suspense

If you could sum up Permed to Death in three words, what would they be?

A suspenseful story with lots of twist and turns to keep it exciting till the end.

What did you like best about this story?

Kept me on the edge of my seat till I could find out who the killer was.

Have you listened to any of Mary Ann Jacobs’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Loved the narrator. She had a lilt to her voice that made the story exciting and never dull. She had humor in her voice to make you laugh out loud. Loved her.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed from the humor in parts. Other parts when the suspense got heavy I was wringing my hands.

Any additional comments?

Can't wait till the next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Permed to Death

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

When Marla told Callie about her past.

Any additional comments?

I liked the story. I thought Marla took too long to figure out the bad guy. I thought it was pretty obvious who the villain was halfway through the book. I liked the push/pull tension between Marla and Lance. I received this audiobook for free through Audiobook Boom for my unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • IAN
  • 07-27-16

Having your hair done, could be murder!

If you could sum up Permed to Death in three words, what would they be?

Funny
Sassy
Enjoyable

What did you like best about this story?

Marla jumping in before thinking. And realising her mistake afterwards!

Which character – as performed by Mary Ann Jacobs – was your favourite?

Lucille

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The conversation with the Santero.

Any additional comments?

This is a very good and funny mystery, well written, plotted. And well narrated by Mary Ann.