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    Review of MARRIED TO THE MOP by Barbara Colley (see her website)


    Kensington, January 2006

    Cleaning lady Charlotte LaRue doesn't want to take on more business but when a woman calls desperate for help and offers $200 per day, Charlotte can't turn her down. She wishes she had, though, when she learns that the family she'll be cleaning for is in the mob. Worse, Robert, the mob leader, beats his wife and is generally an unpleasant sort of guy. Although her family and friends urge her to back out, Charlotte stays firm--a deal is a deal. The deal gets worse, though, when the caterer's crew comes down sick and Charlotte, along with a group of mob bodyguards, is drafted into wait-staff for a Mardi Gras party.

    The party is winding down when Charlotte discovers the husband dead--and his wife covered with blood. To the police, it looks like murder--and well justified. But Charlotte believes Emily's story about trying to save Robert--and decides she needs to get at the truth.

    Author Barbara Colley (see more reviews of mysteries by Colley) always manages clever titles and writes convincingly of the life of the manager/worker in a cleaning service and of New Orleans. Colley's love for this city comes through clearly. Her writing is straightforward (maybe too straightforward) and even people who don't read many mysteries will have no problems identifying the clues.

    For me, this mystery is marred by the unsympathetic protagonist. Charlotte claims to be a Christian, but manages to justify whatever behavior she wishes to engage in with no sense of guilt. Where she engages in charitable behavior (like taking care of the ex-wife of Charlotte's hapless love interest, Louis), she practically seethes with anger and hoards her sense of entitlement.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 5/13/06

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