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Handbags and Homicide (Haley Randolph #1)

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  974 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
Haley Randolph is always ready to go to any lengths to get the latest Louis Vuitton. Unfortunately for Haley, her life goes from glam to grim when her passion for fashion outlasts her credit cards, and she's forced to work at Holt's--a mid-market department store. Looking for a bit of shopping inspiration, Haley sneaks into the stock room to get a first glimpse of Holt's o ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lisa Kay
Louis Vuitton organizer about $700.


Whoa. And I thought I was materialistic? I couldn't connect with the heroine. She was too materialistic, too self-centered, too inconsiderate, and worst of all too lazy. She doesn't know how to tell a supervisor on the phone - when he puts her off by saying he's on a break - that there is a dead body? Pretty easy to say those two words: "dead body." There are very few good scenes in this one, and they don't come until the second half, when the heroine starts t
...more
Robin
Tried the Kindle sample of this one. From the description, it sounded like "Confessions of a Shopaholic" with a murder mystery - so I expected the main character, Haley, to initially be irresponsible with her money. But I wasn't expecting a lazy, shallow, disrespectful, mean spirited main character.

Within just the short Kindle sample, she manages to inwardly call a customer the B word just for complaining that the store was a mess (which it was), insult her (again, inwardly) for being "only a 3
...more
Genji Bailey
What a stupid novel, what a totally unlikeable, lazy, bad-work-ethic main character. Wow - really disappointed. I got to chapter 3 and when she got upset because her supervisors were going to watch tapes that might include her practically mapping in the stock room when she was supposed to be attempting to assist a customer, got upset that her boss was killed and that might crimp her plans, and she specifically avoided a store customer who needed help - not that the customer had any redeeming qua ...more
Jessica Workman Holland (Tales Between the Pages)
You can see this review at Tales Between the Pages

Handbags and Homicide by Dorothy Howell is a fun read that is perfect for summer. It’s funny, fast-paced, and there are enough designer handbag references to make you drool. I’m not a handbag afficionado. I buy cheap at Target. But the book even had me drooling when I looked up pictures of the handbags in question.

I had a hard time liking Haley at the beginning of the novel. I found her vapid and narcissistic and not too like-able. For a while, I
...more
Barbara
Aug 09, 2016 Barbara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Some books I'm embarrassed to admit that I read and this is one of them. But I want to get it on my list to remind myself not to read any more in the series. The main character, Haley was completely unlikable; shallow, lazy, dumb and irresponsible with money. I enjoy a well written chic-lit mystery but this was not it. I figured out the two "mysteries" long before she did and I kept saying to her "you were set up because they knew you were stupid!" Near the end when she also figured it out she a ...more
Marni
Jul 16, 2008 Marni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read alot of mysteries but had decided that I wouldn't give any 5 stars--5 star ratings are reserved for my all time favorite books. Well after reading a clunker previous to this I just fell in love with this funny mystery. Handbags are quite bountiful in the world of Haley Randolph. She is funny, smart, relatable and sassy. Most mysteries have the typical solve the crime and all the pieces come together at the end. This one had a couple of nifty twists and turns at the end. A complete and utt ...more
Lisa
Sep 26, 2014 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I must confess that I could not finish reading this book. I had high hopes, as I love cozy mysteries but this was just horrible from the get-go. It seemed promising, but I just couldn't connect with the main character, and I had to force myself to turn the page. The main character was over-the-top materialistic, shallow, self-centered and lazy. I couldn't connect with her whatsoever. This was my first and last Dorothy Howell mystery.
Tricia
Nov 14, 2008 Tricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
I should have known from the very start that I would never identify with the main character. But I kept reading, hoping she would do something to redeem herself. To me, she reads as shallow, stupid and selfish, and I just couldn't get over that and follow along happily with the story. The plot itself was decent enough, and the twists though a little convoluted worked out. The writing wasn't bad either. It was mainly the protagonist that I just didn't like.
Cindy Mink
Oct 14, 2016 Cindy Mink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute book

A fun story with Haley Randolph investigative skills rivaled only by her love of high end purses and shoes. I look forward to reading another light story by Dorothy Howell.
Kayeb
Mar 17, 2009 Kayeb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK........ not compelling, but amusing. I did take the time to look up some of the handbag designers on the web, since I am so not a handbag junkie. So I have at least seen prada and so on in pictures. The conclusion is a bit of a surprise, given that we are introduced to a bit more self reflection than we ahd seen with the main character previously.

[close:] Witty, smart, and always chic-to-die despite a less than glam checking account balance, Haley Randolph has it all--Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Co
...more
Alannah Davis
Sep 15, 2016 Alannah Davis rated it did not like it
It's been a long time since I've disliked a book this much. I was intrigued by the fact that the mystery took place in a department store, since my first job was part-time in a department store when I was 16. However, my intrigue was quickly replaced by disbelief and the desire to delete the thing from my Nook.

Haley is probably the most unlikable character I've seen, ever. It's fine to have an unlikable character, but at least delve into her inner workings a bit so we can understand why she is
...more
Dalene
Sep 20, 2013 Dalene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery, 2013
Original review posted at A Date with a Book

I haven’t given 5 stars to a cozy mystery in a long time. I loved this book from page one and until the end. As indicated on the back, there is a cliffhanger which will leave the reader wanting to read the next book quick. Oh yeah it does. It really does leave you hanging so if you can’t stand to wait, make sure you have book two ready to go!! I’ve got to find the second book, ugh.

Haley is quite the character. She finds herself on the edge of destru
...more
Lisa
Feb 22, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, romance, series
The story of Haley Randolph, a girl who was brought up with money, and has expensive taste, but doesn't have the means to support her spending habits. She gets a second job to help earn extra money to pay the bills, but when she finds a dead body at work, things get complicated. Then add to it that things are going wrong with her day job, and she is in a mess. (Nothing a little more shopping can't fix though, or so she thinks.) And for the icing on the cake, the store owner is a gorgeous and suc ...more
Ana
Mar 26, 2012 Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Haley Randolph is a purse whore. buying the lates brand name items. She was fired from her job, so now she is working at a horrible clothing store where she regularly gets yelled at. Right when she thought things couldn't possibly get worse. She ends up finds the body of her boss and all the evidence points to her. Meanwhile she's trying to figure out how to get her job back the only one that brought in tons of money for her purse and handbag addiction. While she tries to clear up her name she g
...more
thegirlinpink
Feb 23, 2011 thegirlinpink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chic-lit, mystery
304 pages on sale for $6.99 in Amazon.com


What is it about? Dorothy Howell’s novel is about a 24-year-old bagaholic named Haley Randolph. Some trouble in her primary job, along with financial problems due to her shopping expeditions land Haley as a worker in Holt’s Department Stores... much to her dismay. During one of her dreadful nights at Holt’s Haley stumbles upon a dead body, and that is where the plot gets thicker. Accused of financial irresponsibility in her first job and murder in her sec
...more
Dharia Scarab
Wow, so bad. The main character is completely shallow and unlikable. The bad guys were obvious, even without the evidence that comes out at the end of the book.
I picked this book up for .50. And even that was too much.

Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books...

1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the plague in the future.

2 stars... This book w
...more
Roxanne
Feb 17, 2016 Roxanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story itself, the murder mystery, was light (not gory or a horror); it could have been an easy read, an interesting and fun story. The main character, Haley, ruins the novel. She is dumb, naive, and so irritatingly irresponsible with her money. She seems immature. She has no sense of responsibility and a terrible work ethic. Her terrible character traits are unnecessary, it does not add to the story. The book should have been an enjoyable breeze, instead it was hard to want to come back to t ...more
Carol
Jul 07, 2009 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a reader's choice selection from the county library. (FYI: for every 5 reader's choice books you read, you get a free book.) I didn't like this book when I started reading it, but ended up liking the book overall. (I kept reading to help me earn my free book....I know! So lame of me!) The main character (Haley) is really bad with money, and it made me anxious as she continued to shop compulsively as a way to cope with life's challenges. This made it hard for me to enjoy the story. And ye ...more
Christia
Haley Randolph reminds me of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, only much more fashion conscious. An entertaining, fast paced, easy read. Due to her unxepected and unexplained sudden administrative leave from the high powered attorney's office where she works in accounting, Haley finds herself dependent on her part-time job that she loathes, working at Holt's, a low end department store. To make matters worse, she finds the store manager dead in the stock room.

This is a perfect read for the beac
...more
Terry
1st in a new series by veteran romance author Dorothy Howell. Super-light and fits into my "murder goes retail" frame of mind, since I just finished the car dealership one. . . Noteworthy: southern California mind-set is perfect, Haley is a handbag expert (and key to the plot), and she's gently funny. It took awhile to connect the dots between Century City law firms and Santa Clarita's "Mervyn's/Kohl's" but the Stephanie Plum character wasn't all that put together when she started either. Also, ...more
Melanie
This book was just okay. It was interesting enough that I wanted to finish it, but I don't plan on reading the other two books in the series. The story line was really good. Haley, the main character, is lacking. She is pretty much the waste of a person. When I was positive about Haley I wanted to compare her to Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, but Elle has ambition. Haley doesn't have ambition. In the end of the novel she does plan to go back to school. However, we are given a chapter of the nex ...more
Lisbeth Mizula
Mar 02, 2014 Lisbeth Mizula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so much fun to read. Yes, she's immature. Yes, she has a horrid work ethic. Yes, she's hugely self-centered. The series is funny exactly because Haley Randolph is doing what we, the (supposedly) nice people, aren't supposed to be doing. Going for a lie-down in the break room when you're on the clock. Running from customers on the sales floor. Spending the rent money on a handbag. Eating three candy bars from the snack machine in one seating. Of course in real life we aren't doing t ...more
Molly
Aug 15, 2013 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first started reading this book, I was convinced I'd hate it. I, like Haley, am a bit of a handbag junkie, but definitely not to the extent that she is! As I said, I was completely convinced this book but be whiney and far too unrealistic for me to even finish! However, I was proved wrong. Once you get past the slow character developments and take Haley as 'comedic', then you're in for a good read! Intriguing, funny and pieces together very well, I'd recommend this book for those who have ...more
Julie
Apr 02, 2013 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, cozy-mystery
This was a really fun book. The main character is a bit ditzy at times and has a serious problem with binge spending. Her rationale is not the average. Besides that, the book had quite a few funny moments and great snide comments. The character reminds me so much of Sophie Kinsella's heroines.....just the American version. I read this book in one day because it kept me interested in the two mysteries that Haley was involved in with work. I liked the guys in her life. No bad apples. The ending ma ...more
Rebecca tedder
I read this book in less than 48 hours. Not because it was so good but because I could return it to the library quicker. Yes, it was short too but I looked forward to the end and collecting my next bundle of books to move onto.

This is far from the best mystery book I've read. In fact, I would have filed it under chick-lit/fiction rather than crime if I worked in my local library. Fairly predictable in many places and name-dropping famous designers every 2-3 pages really did not cut it for me.
Margaret
I really enjoyed this! Light, fun & fast - our sleuth Haley is young, very impulsive, jumps to incorrect conclusions a lot, has a designer handbag obsession, eats too much junk food and makes bad financial decisions - all of which made her likable and engaging. The LA setting and retail store environment brought back memories of my stint in retail at the May Company (they are Macy's now) in Redondo Beach, CA. Like her, it was not a job I liked but just tolerated although the 20% discount was ...more
Susan
Mar 06, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lbd-books, romance
Not since I read the shopaholic books has a main character annoyed me like Becky did, make me wonder why I keep on reading (but do?!?!) until I read Handbags and Homicide. While I did enjoy the book(s), I think that it was in the way that something irritating ends up being something you decide that you have to overcome, if that makes any sense.

Haley Randolph is self-absorbed, a chronic lier and can't seem to see when she needs to put her credit cards away and stop self indulging, yet the hunky d
...more
Matthew Cousens
Sep 20, 2015 Matthew Cousens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z_incomp-series
When I first started reading this I thought it was very similar to the BODY MOVERS series and almost lost interest. I'm glad I didn't. While both series have characters with part-time jobs as salesclerks, and both discuss high-end designer purchases, Haley Randolph is a great character on her own right. I enjoyed reading this series because of the humor and found the pages turning quickly. The plot might not be the most developed one I have ever read but there were enough twists that it kept me ...more
Amanda
Oct 28, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Haley Randolph is a funny mix of Pepper Martin and Finley Anderson Tanner. Haley is in debt, with great taste, and she cannot stop herself from constantly jumping to conclusions about those around her.

She finally finds a dream job only to lose it without explanation, she is stuck in a dead end job that was meant to be seasonal and is becoming her only income, oh and she has stumbled across a dead body in the stock room...

How many things can go wrong, and when will things finally take a turn for
...more
Nicole
Mar 01, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I started reading this book, but I had trouble liking the main character and almost returned the book to the library. Couldn't sleep one night, so I picked it back up and decided to give it one more chance and I'm glad I did. Once I got past chapter 3, the story began to pick up and I got used to the main character's superficiality and obsession with handbags. I'm slightly more than halfway through, but it's a good story so far.
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Dorothy Howell writes for two publishing houses, in two genres, under two names. She writes mysteries as Dorothy Howell historical romance novels under the pseudonym Judith Stacy.
More about Dorothy Howell...

Other Books in the Series

Haley Randolph (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Purses and Poison (Haley Randolph, #2)
  • Shoulder Bags and Shootings (Haley Randolph, #3)
  • Clutches and Curses (Haley Randolph, #4)
  • Slay Bells and Satchels (A Haley Randolph Mystery)
  • Tote Bags and Toe Tags (Haley Randolph Series, #5)
  • Evening Bags and Executions
  • Duffel Bags and Drownings (Haley Randolph #6.5)
  • Beach Bags and Burglaries
  • Fanny Packs and Foul Play (A Haley Randolph Mystery)
  • Swag Bags and Swindlers

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