Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Big Dirt Nap - Rosemary Harris

The Big Dirt Nap is the second book in Rosemary Harris' "A Dirty Business Mystery" series. Paula Holliday is a landscaper/gardener, a woman with a love for plants. So when her friend Lucy tempts her out to a swanky resort for some relaxation and a look at their rare corpse flower, Paula agrees.

While Paula is waiting in the hotel bar for Lucy to arrive, a handsome man with terrible pick-up lines starts putting the moves on her. She chats with him long enough to find out he can connect her with the hotel owners, who she wants to speak with about the corpse flower. So, Paula (dun-da-dun-dun) gives him her business card. When he winds up dead in an alley that night, the police come calling on Paula because the human corpse has her card in his pocket. And that's when the fun begins.

And fun this book is! Paula is a character with sass and spunk. Her sarcastic wit makes for many humorous situations even though most times she's just pointing out the everyday obvious. I enjoy when people can find the humor in those little facets of life. But, Paula unwittingly finds herself in some rather unique situations as well. And from the outsider's view, they're funny, but I sure wouldn't want to be the one encountering a black bear:

When you're hiking in black bear country and confront a bear, half the guidebooks tell you to drop into a fetal position and cover your head. The other half tell you to wave your arms like a lunatic and make noise...What the guidebooks never tell you to do is throw a Zone bar and a cell phone at the bear, but that's what I did. It wasn't intentional, it was a reflex - they just flew out of my hands. I remember the part about making noise and reached into the Jeep, grabbing two hand weeders and furiously clanking the tines together. Then I thought, Just get in the freaking car!...The black bear is generally harmless and would really prefer eating berries or garbage to human flesh, but when you're on foot and so is he - despite the fact that it's a different animal and you're on a different continent - visions of King Kong pop into your head and that, inevitably, makes you the screaming, writhing Fay Wray.

As absolutely absurd as that whole scene sounds, I can totally see myself doing the same thing! I probably wouldn't be so lucky to have hand weeders in my car, but still, when you have the bejeebers frightened out of you, you see everything in complete distortion. Paula isn't one of the senseless amateur sleuths that so commonly inhabit cozy mysteries. She's a smart cookie who ends up in odd predicaments.

And Paula's supporting cast are equally dynamic. Babe is the former rock and roller turned restaurant owner who has a rather maternal quality to her. Sam is a former shoe factory owner who lost his business and became homeless. Lucy does a great job of filling the ditzy roll. She isn't over the top, but she's just goofy enough to make a perfect foil for Paula.

The great cast is combined with a solid plot; the reader can't help but keep turning the pages, partly to find the solution to the mystery but also to discover what new adventure Paula finds herself in. The poor woman just wants to get some sleep.

The Big Dirt Nap is a quick, fun, thoroughly entertaining novel. When you're ready for a serving of laughs with your who-done-it, I recommend you pick up a copy.

Happy Reading!


TexasRed March 11, 2009 at 3:23 PM  

This sounds like so much fun! I'd better start with the first book, though.

Rosemary Harris March 12, 2009 at 8:31 AM  

Hi Jen,
So glad you enjoyed The Big Dirt Nap. I did have a lot of fun writing it, and because I was able to get Paula out of her home town for a few days, I was able to give her a few wilder adventures. Right now I'm finishing up book three in the series..Deadhead, which should be released next Feb/Mar.

GeorgiaWoodward March 19, 2009 at 2:15 PM  

It was so nice to meet you last night! Your talk was very inspiring. Good luck with book #3!
I was so inspired by your creativity, and ideas. I was the girl who read all the Nancy Drew books as a girl.
Wishing you great success,

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