I'm a fan of Vallere's Mad for Mod series but I may be an even bigger fan of this series. This is the first book of the series and I really enjoyed it. It has the characteristics of a cozy mystery but to me, it has a little bit more style and polish than some other series, it feels a bit more contemporary. No crafts, no homemade jelly, no candlemaking classes. Lots of fashion and gorgeous shoes.
Samantha Kidd has quit her job as the shoe buyer for a New York department store to move back to her home town and work as the Trend Specialist for the local department store. She's also buying her parent's house as they have decided to move someplace warmer in retirement. Her first day of work starts with a bang as she finds her boss dead in the elevator and no one seems to know that she's been hired. Obviously, both of these situations present difficulties for Samantha. Since she is back in her old home town, she runs into old friends from high school as well as people she knew in New York as she attempts to keep herself from being arrested for murder and to make her mortgage payment at the same time. It's a lot of fun (for us, not for her)!
I've always loved seeing behind the scenes of things we're only supposed to see the front of so the behind the scenes look at a department store are very interesting to me. I loved Samantha as soon as I met her and the characters she encounters are well-developed. The mystery is good, the characters are likeable. The book has several flaws. She doesn't tell the police what they need to know. She gets herself into situations that are not very believable. She doesn't just march into the HR department of the store and figure out what's going on. But the storytelling and characterization overcome those flaws and I just found it highly entertaining. Another win for Diane Vallere.