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
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 FrontStreetReviews.com
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
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,
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
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
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
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
along smartly as no-nonsense Charlotte delivers a tidy treat." ~Kirkus
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
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.
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
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
was Joyce killed because of her work in California, with an undercover
" 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
Reviews Coming Soon!