A Bad Day for Scandal Review
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Now in its third installment, author Sophie Littlefield’s Stella Hardesty series is quickly becoming a summer staple. Summer vacation just wouldn’t be the same without Stella’s irreverent and unconventional brand of small-town crime-fighting. But in her latest mystery, A Bad Day for Scandal, Stella finds herself in an unfamiliar place: the big city.

Things are just starting to get nice and cozy for Stella and Sheriff Goat Jones when another potential client gets in the way. City girl Priss Porter returns home to Prosper with a body in the trunk of her Mercedes—and she seems to think that Stella is the woman to call for body disposal. But while she could definitely use the money that Priss is offering—and she’s more than a little nervous about the incriminating photos that the tough-as-nails businesswoman is prepared to use against her—Stella declines the offer.

  
 
Unfortunately, though, that isn’t the last Stella hears of Priss Porter. Just hours later, Priss and her brother have gone missing—and Goat finds Stella’s scarf at the scene. Now, instead of protecting innocent women, Stella finds herself trying to track down a woman who’s anything but blameless.

Once again, badass sleuth Stella finds herself surrounded by all kinds of unsightly and unusual characters—from posh city folk to Marxist male escorts—making A Bad Day for Scandal another enjoyably quirky crime novel. But while it has the same irreverent sense of humor and (of course) the same feisty heroine that fans have grown to adore, this isn’t the best book in the Stella Hardesty series (that would be 2010’s A Bad Day for Pretty). The frequent references to earlier books may get a bit distracting—even for returning fans. And Littlefield takes Stella and her loyal sidekick, Chrissy, into territory that feels unexpected and out of character when they start stealing cash from small-time thugs and pilfering small appliances from people’s homes.

Despite a few minor flaws, though, A Bad Day for Scandal is another summer page-turner from Littlefield, thanks to well-developed characters that just keep getting better. Stella may not find herself dealing with her usual kind of client, but she does find herself wrestling with complicated romantic entanglements (with hints of a growing love triangle) and her formerly estranged daughter’s questions about her own sexual preferences. And those personal subplots only add depth to her character.

When it comes to the no-good husbands and boyfriends that she’s often hired to punish, Stella is tough and unyielding. But she’s also a loving mother and friend—and a (mostly) admirable woman who’s finally finding herself after years of being trapped in an abusive relationship.

With its lovably folksy characters and a little bit of mystery, this light and feisty adventure is just the thing for an afternoon by the pool. So before you head out for a relaxing day in the sun, be sure to stop by your favorite bookstore to pick up a copy of A Bad Day for Scandal.

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