Title: The Curse of the Holy Pail
Author: Sue Ann Jaffarian
Publication Year: 2007
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Date Completed: 7/23/2011
Odelia Grey is a plus-sized, 40-something year old, corporate paralegal. Her specialty at the law firm is research, and although she is no PI, she has been known to get herself involved in some sticky situations. Odelia just can't resist the opportunity to solve a mystery. Her younger boyfriend Greg has just proposed to her, and she's feeling like she needs time to think it over. When she is nervous or stressed she overeats.
In this cozy mystery, the second in a series, Odelia is sent over to the offices of Sterling Homes to notarize some documents for the company CEO, Sterling Price. While she is there Mr. Price shows her his lunch pail collection, which includes the rare and most valuable pail, the "holy pail" is the first one made, the Chappy Wheeler. Chappy Wheeler was a television cowboy from the late 1940s who was murdered. Every owner of this lunch pail has ended up dead, and so the pail is said to be "cursed".
Although Odelia is impressed by the "holy pail" and intrigued by its legend, she only has eyes for the Zorro lunch pail which is part of the collection. Later that day a package arrives at the office --the Zorro lunch pail, a gift to Odelia from Sterling Price. Unfortunately, shortly after, Mr. Price turns up dead. He was poisoned, and the valuable Chappy Wheeler lunch pail is missing.
"A gigantic Oreo cookie hung on the front entrance of the Sterling Homes corporate headquarters. I shook my head, removed my sunglasses, and did a double take. This time, I saw a huge black funeral wreath. I made a mental note to call for an eye appointment. Soon."
"A blond, petite, and very chic woman sat on the sofa next to where Jackson Blake stood. She was very pretty, with the sort of fashion magazine looks that money and a good surgeon could maintain for years."
Odelia cannot resist delving into Price's death by asking innocent questions and doing a little snooping on the side. She puts herself in several unsafe situations in the process. There are no shortage of suspects: Stella, Prices fiancee, his unscrupulous adult children, his son-in-law, and even someone from the old Chappy W show.
I loved this cozy mystery. The writing is laugh-out-loud funny, and even when Odelia is in the midst of a dangerous situation there are humorous elements that catch you off guard. The story is centered around everyday life: Odelia's boyfriend, pets, family, and job, with a mystery thrown in making this just a delightful, laughable treat. I highly recommend this light and fun book. I just ordered the first book in the series: Too Big to Miss. There are 5 books in the Odelia Grey mystery series.