Publication Date: January 16, 2014
Blake and Ralph have been married for twenty-seven years when Ralph, an ex-cop and security specialist, hits 60 and starts working out and dressing better. Is Ralph doing other things to feel young, Blake wonders? She heads out for her own self-indulgence of a knock-off Chanel handbag and winds up embroiled in a mystery that she needs the help of her husband, a man she’s not sure she trusts, to solve.
The author, Ruth Harris, gave a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
[easyazon-link asin=”B00BTJR2CU” locale=”us”]THE CHANEL CAPER: Chick Lit For Chicks Who Weren’t Born Yesterday[/easyazon-link] is a wonderful story. It’s light and funny with an edge of danger. Blake and Ralph had some problems early on in their marriage now that they’re “poised between hip and a hip replacement” (page 12, love that line!). They’re looking for that little extra spice. Blake is looking for it in knock-off bags, while Ralph is maybe looking for spice outside of the marriage. Harris gives us quotable quotes one after another making this reader laugh out loud over and over again. One that I loved and may use over and over again is “Men…They think admitting any kind of vulnerability will make their dick fall off.” (Page 143).
Blake is a great character. She’s a not so young, never say die, quick wit that runs her life thinking on her feet. She was a fashion editor, so has the knowledge, but is confident enough to do her own thing. When she goes looking for her knock-off bag to spice up her day she and I bond because that’s what I would do. When she thought the Gucci perfume smelled like Lemon Pledge that was exactly my thought on smelling that perfume as well. She is a woman of the city without pretense and I love her. When Ralph refers to her as “Miss Marple” nothing could be more apt because even if Ralph didn’t need her help in solving the murder, she would not have been able to hold herself back from finding out as much as she could to bring the baddie to justice.
Harris has a talent for writing likeable misogynist. Ralph reads as a product of his times and also as someone who is highly skilled at private security. He reads as someone used to taking charge and taking care of things and especially handling things for Blake she might not have ever known. When she comes home to find that Ralph has installed a new high security door on their apartment his attitude is one of short answers with the feel of “How can you understand so just go with it”. As grating as he can be to Blake, they are headed for an evolution in their relationship whether they like it or not.
Harris’s strong suit seems far-reaching but characterization is where she really shines. Her background characters are delightfully eccentric. Julia, her best friend, is a sounding board not worried about hurt feelings. If you’re being an idiot, expect to hear it from Julia. Charlotte Howard is modeled on Martha Stewart and is someone that Blake thought was dead until she appears in the story. The level of her maniac nature reads as unique dysfunction and a creditable spoof on the Gracious Living guru without being a rip-off.[easyazon-link asin=”B00BTJR2CU” locale=”us”]THE CHANEL CAPER: Chick Lit For Chicks Who Weren’t Born Yesterday[/easyazon-link] would have been hard pressed to take place anywhere but New York City. The action-packed, fast-paced run to the end fits with familiar image of The Big Apple. The ending was deliciously done like a scene out of the best rom-coms. The players may surprise the reader, but the promise of more is irresistible to this reader.
Does it sound odd to call a murder mystery light and delightful? Harris gets the job done in [easyazon-link asin=”B00BTJR2CU” locale=”us”]THE CHANEL CAPER: Chick Lit For Chicks Who Weren’t Born Yesterday[/easyazon-link]. I truly have nothing negative to say about this novel. Reading this novel was an exercise in self-indulgence best done with your favorite glass of something rare or much loved snack infrequently eaten (I did both). If you like light and funny cozy mysteries with wonderful heart, pick this one up today.
For further reading check out the reviews of Brainwashed: Killer Thriller Series–Part 1 by Ruth Harris and Michael Harris and A Kiss at Kilhali: A Story of Romance, Mystery and Beauty by Ruth Harris.