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Decorating Schemes
by Ginny Aiken

Reviewed by Lori Fox

"...a fun romp through murder and mayhem."

Haley Farrell has done it again--another job, another body. But this time, it’s Dutch who’s gotten himself … in Dutch?

Haley’s first client calls her with an offer she can’t refuse--a rich friend wants her home remodeled. Even if she has to work with her arch nemesis: Dutch Merrill.

When Haley arrives at the new client’s home, she is stunned by the gorgeous décor, expensive antiques, mahogany, rich fabrics and art. Despite her personal feelings on the matter, Haley wants this job, and if that means replacing classic and tasteful décor with pink and black, then so be it. In addition to the color change, her new client also wants to knock down the back wall of the Georgian home to take advantage of the killer view. And you can guess what happens next.

Fortunately for Haley, this time there is nothing to connect her to the murder, aside from her being among the first to find the body. Unfortunately for Dutch, the same is not true for him. Now Haley has to decide for herself if she believes Dutch is responsible for the murder, and if he’s not, then she has to help him, and catch the real person or persons responsible. Much hilarity ensues in some lively situations with her crazy neighbor Bella (and Bella’s even crazier cats) some scuba lessons, and Haley’s own magnetism for trouble.

Decorating Schemes is the second installment of Ginny Aiken’s Deadly Décor series--and definitely an improvement on the first. While the humor and the twist ending of the first were great, the dialogue and general story line are much more developed in this book. Bella becomes a bigger player as well, introducing much comedy by the new duo Bali H’ai and Faux Bali. We get to be there when the two Bali’s meet for the first time, too.

The murder offers more in plot as well. In the first book, the murder seemed to be based on money, giving it the perfect twist opportunity. In Decorating Schemes, the victim is a 14 year old girl who had just given birth. No sign of the baby, and money was definitely not the motive. There wasn’t much of a twist, but the events leading up to the end were much better paced and creatively written than in the first book.

As Haley is also going through therapy at this point, we get to know her a lot better in this book. Rather than having only her emotional trauma from the past resurfacing every few pages, we get to see some of the subtler effects of the devastation she’d gone through, and her natural personality begins to shine as well. While her need to solve the crime in the first book was driven by her need to clear her own name, and by her friendship with the victim, in this second book, it’s almost a therapy for her. She was victimized, and so she needed to stop other people from being victimized. And, as Dutch is now the prime suspect, she needs to learn to trust him if she’s going to help him.

In all, Decorating Schemes is a fun romp through murder and mayhem.

Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.