Missing Mabel by Nancy Mehl is the story of Hilde Higgins, a hairdresser for the dead. Hilde goes to the funeral home to do Mabel's hair when she is told that person is not ready. Hilde sees the body and the hair. The next time she comes to the funeral home to do Mabel's hair she knows from seeing her before and the picture given by the family that this is not the same body. Hilde tries to tell the funeral home director, but he does not believe her. She sets out to make things right for Mabel and find her. We met several other interesting characters in the book. Adam is a friend from her childhood that she does not have good memories about. Gabe is an antique store owner across the street from her boarding house who becomes friends with Hilde. These are just to name a few that stand out to me, there are many more. Hilde and her friends try to find out who took Mabel and Hilde uses her friends to help her.
I have to be honest here, I did not read the description of this book before reading it. I had recently read Simple Secrets and Simple Deceit by the author and loved them and thought I'd give this book a try. After reading the first chapter, I really thought I would not like this book. The thought of reading a book about a hairdresser for the dead just did not appeal to me. I am glad though that I kept reading. The book seemed to me to be more about the other people in Hilde's life. I love reading books about women sleuths. Hilde is such an interesting character I wanted to read more about her. I really liked that she loved to read mysteries and that she loved to cook with SPAM. The author even includes a recipe using SPAM at the end of the book. I also liked how the reader finds out that Mabel and Hilde had a lot in common. I also like the subtle hints of religion throughout the book. I never guessed the who done it part, until it was revealed. As a reader, I was a little confused at the end. We are left with Hilde saying she knew who done it and then the reader is moved to a new chapter where almost all the characters attending a dinner and learning about how she found out about it. It kind of downplayed the figuring out part in my opinion. All in all I really enjoyed this book. I also really like this author's writing style. Missing Mabel is available now and I would recommend giving it a try. I plan to read the next book in this series called Blown Away: A Curl Up and Dye Mystery. I love the way the author uses the title to link to hairdresser words. That book comes out February 1, 2011. Look for a review of that book on my blog soon.
I was given a copy of the book by Barbour Books through NetGalley for this review. I was not paid for this review and was not required to give a positive review.