Stars: 3.5 / 5
Armed and Glamorous is the sixth installment in the Crime of Fashion series by Ellen Byerrum published in July of 2008. This time Lacey Smithsonian is taking a PI class so she can hone her sleuthing skills. Why not, she keeps running into murdered victims, killers and eventually capturing them. :)
The plot opens with Lacey's first class at the PI school run by Bud Hunt - an ex-cop and a close friend of Vic Donovan. With her are other characters in the class - Snake Goldstein, a bounty hunter; Edwina Plimpton, who won the class over a bet with her friend; Willow Raynor, a very shy woman; Martin Hadley, who believes the US Government had put him in an experiment of mind control and finally Damon Newhouse - perhaps Brooke leaked Lacey's idea of taking the class or Vic ordered Damon to be her bodyguard but he was there to annoy her further.
But the biggest surprise for Lacey was Bud's guest speaker, Greg - a surveillance expert. He was no ordinary person but infact was Gregor Kepelov, an ex-KGB spy and a jewel thief, whom she had tangled with when she was in Russia looking for the lost corset in the book The Raiders of the Lost Corset. Now what was he doing in Washington, D.C. thought Lacey.
As the class concludes for a lunch break and everyone headout, they come across a very dead Cecily Ashton in her silver-blue S-Type Jaguar just outside the building where the class was. Cecily was one of the notorious Washingtonian socialites, the former trophy wife of an aging billionaire, Philip Clark Ashton, who once owned a baseball team in D.C. She often tended to get the wrong kind of publicity in press causing the inevitable divorce. Lacey had interviewed her for her fashion article not just a week ago.
Now this makes it more mysterious for Lacey's sharp mind. Was there a connection between Gregor and Cecily? What was Cecily doing outside the class in Falls Church, Virginia - a place Cecily would never be found visiting? Was she trying to contact someone here? Gregor? Bud? Lacey? Was the break-in at Cecily's home had to do anything with her murder? Why would a robber steal just one item - a one-of-a-kind makeup case, piece designed by Louis Vuitton for Rita Hayworth in the 1940s and contained a hidden compartment that housed a very expensive pearl necklace belonging to the movie star? Why did he steal just that one? Why not her expensive clothes that probably costed more than the makeup case? And Lacey's mind spins further pushing her deeper into the investigation much to the chagrin of Vic and the danger that posed to her and her friends.
Another good murder-mystery by Ellen with fashion clues. It was thrilling to visit Aunt Mimi's magical bottomless trunk again, filled with fabulous vintage clothes, fabrics, patterns and fashion memorabilia. My taste for vintage clothing had increased page by page as I read these books. One day perhaps I will wear a vintage clothing too. :P We alos get to hear the story behind Lacey's last name "Smithsonian" - definitely not related to the museum. :P I recommend that you pick this book for a easy read of murder and crime in the world of fashion. And here's another snippet from Lacey's Fashion Bites.
Lacey Smithsonian's Fashion Bites: Shopping Safari: Hunting for the Elusive Little Black Dress
The first rule of hunting and gathering the right little black dress is commitment. Commitment to trying on as many black dresses as it takes until you find the one that fits, whether that means two dresses or twenty dresses.