Cover: Wash and Die by Barbara Colley






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Title: Barbara Colley's Charlotte LaRue Mystery Series

Cover detail: Scrub-a-Dub Dead by Barbara Colley
February 2008
ISBN 0-758-20766-2

Charlotte LaRue, owner of New Orleans’ Maid for a Day cleaning service, is swept into jeopardy when an uninvited guest arrives on her doorstep...

animation: sweeping broomAs the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Charlotte LaRue knows she should take a broom and chase Joyce Thibodeaux off her front porch. Once married to Charlotte’s tenant Louis Thibodeaux, Joyce is fresh out of detox for her alcoholism and has no place to go. She swears she’s clean and sober and will find her own place in a few days. She pulls on Charlotte’s heartstrings...and soon she’s staying in Charlotte’s guest room.

empty bird cage ...where's Sweety Boy?Charlotte survived Hurricane Katrina, but Joyce proves to be an ill wind of a different kind. Soon a valuable gold watch left to Charlotte by her father is missing, and worse, a stranger is watching the house. Charlotte knows she has to show Joyce the door, but she never gets the chance. Instead her beloved parakeet Sweety Boy vanishes, her living room gets trashed, and Joyce ends up in the middle of the mess...stone cold dead.

Now Charlotte is on the list of murder suspects along with Louis, who’s been out of town on business...or has he? Finding the answers means doing a little snooping herself. Grabbing her mop she’s starting with the hospital where Joyce last stayed: a place with skeletons in its closets and a bucket full of clues that just might lead to a killer...


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Select another book and click to find out more!


Death Tidies Up - Click for more!
Book 2


Polished Off - Click for more!
Book 3


Wiped Out - Click for more!
Book 4


Married to the Mop- Click for Details!
Book 5

Scrub-a-Dub Dead - click for details!
Book 6



Reviews for WASH AND DIE

New!"One of the most endearing amateur sleuths in literature has returned to solve another mystery in Wash and Die, Barbara Colley's seventh release in the Charlotte LaRue series. Set in present day New Orleans against a backdrop of nostalgia, and speckled with the ills plaguing actual returning residents, the familiar cozy mystery series features the feisty owner of the Maid for a Day cleaning service, Miss Charlotte LaRue. As evidenced in previous installments, Charlotte has a knack for getting wrapped up in crime scenes.

Expecting her first grandchild, an air of anticipation already exists around Charlotte. But she could never have anticipated the throng of mysterious visitors that would soon grace her doorstep. First, a nervous real estate agent pushes her way into an appraisal on the value of Charlotte's home. Then, she mysteriously fails to follow through.

Next, her neighbor's ex-wife, Joyce shows up with no where to go after a hasty release from an institution. It takes all of Charlotte's will to tolerate her intrusion, but she agrees to let Joyce stay in her guest room until she can get back on her feet. But around the time of Joyce's arrival, a suspicious black SUV begins casing the neighborhood--Charlotte's home, in particular. The tension builds.

Almost immediately, Charlotte begins to suspect Joyce is stealing from her. The notorious alcoholic must be up to her old tricks again. An errand in the Quarter allows her to catch Joyce by surprise, exiting from a seedy pawn shop, and her suspicions are all but confirmed. In the midst of a heated argument, Charlotte evicts her thieving houseguest from her home.

It's only a matter of time before she discovers Joyce's dead body, murdered in her Charlotte's living room of all places. Who would have reason to murder the unstable woman, and why is Charlotte still being stalked? With her niece Judith working the case and her neighbor (but not boyfriend!) backing her up, she should feel reassured. But if she doesn't take the investigation into her own hands, her life could be in danger, and her intuition is telling her this. And as one of the prime suspects, it may not be so easy for Charlotte to do her usual prying.

Wash and Die is a fun, fast-paced novel, chocked with light-hearted sarcasm and a lovable protagonist. Charlotte LaRue could be anyone's mother or grandmother, but she has a knack for doing remarkable things and getting herself into complicated messes. It's a good thing she's also good at cleaning up those messes!

Barbara Colley has created a familiar cast of characters readers will enjoy relating to, with an intriguing plot and a concise, unwavering storyline. As a resident of New Orleans, Colley provides the first hand knowledge of the area that makes the story a complete experience.

A reader would be hard-pressed to find fault with any of Colley's novels. She is truly a talented writer and the Charlotte LaRue mysteries are nothing but pure fun and enjoyment. For those who enjoy cozies or who might be looking for a break from heavier reading, Wash and Die is the perfect book. ~Reviewed by Sabrina Williams for

New!"I love this series. Charlotte is a great character and New Orleans is a wonderful setting. I like the fact that Charlotte is a maid. So many times people talk in front of the maid, helping her to find answers.

"This book has plenty of twists and turns to keep you turning the page. I highly recommend this book." ~ Dawn Dowdle, Mystery Lovers Corner

"Wash and Die is the seventh Charlotte LaRue mystery and I’m stunned that I hadn’t discovered this series sooner. Charlotte is an absolutely charming senior sleuth and Wash and Die is a solid mystery, with A-1 writing and great plotting. I would rank Ms. Colley right up there with the stars of the cozy mystery field. Why she’s not better known is a puzzle." ~ Diana, The Cozy Library

"There is something so engaging, so charming about Charlotte LaRue. She has not had an easy life, and she works hard and keeps finding dead bodies. In her seventh mystery after Scrub-a-Dub-Dead, her tenant's ex-wife is murdered in Charlotte's living room." ~Jo Ann Vicarel, Library Journal

"No good deed goes unpunished when housecleaner Charlotte LaRue (Scrub-a-Dub Dead, 2007, etc.) lets her tenant's ex-wife stay in her New Orleans home after Katrina has passed through. Charlotte is a grandma now, and she'd like nothing better than to spend her spare time helping her daughter-in-law Carol adjust to motherhood while her son Hank works at his medical practice. But, still uncertain whether the retired police detective who lives in the other half of her duplex is really her boyfriend, she lets Louis Thibodeaux's ex-wife use her spare room when Joyce gets discharged abruptly from drug rehab. Almost instantly, Charlotte regrets her generous impulse. Joyce is a messy guest; Charlotte's father's watch promptly goes missing; and Joyce releases Charlotte's beloved parakeet, Sweety Boy, from his cage into the cruel world. But the worst thing Joyce does is to get herself killed in the LaRue living room, placing Charlotte and Louis under a cloud of suspicion even Charlotte's police detective niece Judith can't disperse. Charlotte suspects the answer lies in the hospital where Joyce did rehab. So, disguised as herself (who looks at a maid?), she scrubs her way into the psych ward, where she discovers nasty nurses, perplexed patients and a scent of corruption that overpowers even hospital-strength disinfectant. Colley keeps her tale moving along smartly as no-nonsense Charlotte delivers a tidy treat." ~Kirkus Reviews

"Readers will admire the sexagenarian business owner who is determined to cleanse her name from the mud that it recently took as much as she also wants her beloved bird back. Yet with her cleaning enterprise, an amateur sleuth investigation and much more, Charlotte welcomes her newborn twin grandchildren with love and tenderness. She is the role model that insists the sixties today are the forties of yesterday. Readers will enjoy this fine thinking person’s cozy as Charlotte escorts the audience around New Orleans in search of cleaning up a murder." ~Harriet Klausner

"Full of lush descriptions of the Big Easy, Colley’s seventh Charlotte LaRue whodunit (after 2007’s Scrub-a-Dub Dead) finds the New Orleans maid a murder suspect, along with her friend and tenant, Louis Thibodeaux. When Charlotte stumbles on the body of her guest and Louis’s ex-wife, Joyce, in her ransacked house, even Charlotte’s New Orleans police detective niece thinks Charlotte may be involved.

"Never one to take a murder rap lying down, Charlotte fights to clear her name by worming her way into the psychiatric ward where Joyce was treated for alcoholism to uncover clues about the recently released victim. Uncovering far more than she bargained for, Charlotte crosses paths with everyone from a lowlife pawn shop owner to a potentially crooked West Coast cop. Series fans will delight in this rollicking adventure." ~ Publishers Weekly

"The seventh Charlotte LaRue mystery, Wash and Die is set in New Orleans.
Charlotte comes home from one of her cleaning jobs to find a shadowy figure waiting on her porch–Joyce Thibodeaux, the alcoholic ex-wife of her good friend and tenant Louis Thibodeaux. They had last seen Joyce when she was hauled off to be hospitalized for her addictions, and Charlotte knows her course of treatment is not over. How did Joyce get out? Joyce has a good story, and ends up in Charlotte’s guest room for a few days.

"Ex-cop Louis is out of town for his private security firm business. A day earlier, Charlotte had noticed a strange man watching the house from his car, and when she confronted him, she finds out he is a police detective looking for a criminal. Could it be Joyce? Joyce seems to be the same old untrustworthy person.

"Charlotte discovers that the gold watch her father left her is missing, and she had seen Joyce leaving a pawnshop in the Quarter. She finds Joyce drinking and insists she leave. Coming home the next day, she discovers the door open, her place trashed, and Joyce dead on the floor. And, Sweety Boy, her beloved parakeet is missing from his cage!

"Louis is supposed to have arrived home, but no one can find him, and the police consider Charlotte and Louis “persons of interest!” Charlotte won’t stand for that and begins sleuthing on her own, starting with the hospital ward where Joyce was last staying. Something odd is going on there, involving missing jewelry. One of the nurses senses Charlotte is not quite the cleaning lady she is pretending to be, and follows her to the basement and goes after her with a syringe.

"Or was Joyce killed because of her work in California, with an undercover policeman?

" Louis is discovered in the hospital, where he went due to chest pains. In the midst of all this chaos, her first grandchildren are born, and Charlotte is ecstatic. Will she have time to help with her grandchildren, set her house right, find her parakeet, and the killer?

"Armchair Interviews says: All those questions should make anyone want to read this.
" ~ Kathy Perschmann, Armchair Interviews

More Reviews Coming Soon!

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