“Messenger Bags and Murder” By Dorothy Howell: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review and a link to purchase it.

Readers first met Haley Randolph as a designer handbag-obsessed, completely-in-debt, less-than-dedicated employee of Holt’s Department Store. She’s still obsessed with trendy labels, and she definitely continues to push the limits of her credit card, but Haley has finally found the job of her dreams. Not only is Haley an excellent party planner for L.A. Affairs in Sherman Oaks, Haley actually enjoys her work and adores her BFF coworker Kayla. So Haley is shocked when she is called into the office of her office manager Priscilla. Instead of being called to the carpet, though, a fortuitous car accident has taken out – not permanently, don’t worry – two of their best planners, meaning that Haley and Kayla need to step in. It’s a good thing, as for the first time L.A. Affairs has been invited to the Hospitality Professionals of America’s exclusive week-long conference at the Severin Retreat and Conference Center.

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As thrilled as Haley is to join her bestie as they mingle among the trendiest in Santa Barbara, nothing compares to seeing the Carlo Casale-designed Titan messenger bag being given in swag bags. It is a little alarming, though, when Haley spots private investigator Jack Bishop on site as the security expert. And it’s not a good sign when Haley and Kayla discover the body of Elita Winston, a bed and breakfast owner who is murdered in the center’s tranquility labyrinth. But it’s a tragedy when the Titan messenger bags go missing, and then Haley’s narcissistic mother calls to announce that she’s selling the family home.

Image Source Dorothy Howell

In between taking selfies to prove to their boss that she and Kayla are attending all of the scheduled panels (they’re not), Haley must juggle the demands of her mother while still assisting Jack in his investigations. A flighty assistant from L.A. Affairs both hinders and occasional helps Haley man their exhibit booth, while their personal hostess is overburdened with the task of covering up escalating disasters. All of Hayley’s newfound confidence is going to be tested as she attempts to solve a murder, juggle too many confusing men, and prevent her nemesis from sabotaging her clients back in L.A. It will all be worth it if Hayley can just get her hands on a Titan bag.

This is a series that never fails to elicit laugh-out-loud moments as it satirizes and mocks our celebrity, trend-driven culture. It’s so refreshing to see Hayley succeed in her element, for once not having to hide out in the storeroom as she takes hours-long breaks. The one area where she still struggles is in her love life, as despite having a very successful and near-perfect boyfriend, she not only is tempted by Jack, but she must eventually make a decision about her reformed and apologetic ex. Hayley combats the stress through humor and a lot of recreational shopping, with the latest new handbag always in sight. Readers will be anxious to see the next step Hayley takes in her life, and they can be reassured that whatever she does the results will be fun, funny, and endlessly entertaining.

To enter to win a copy of Messenger Bags and Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "messenger,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 12, 2019. U.S. residents only.If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. NOTE THE PRINT COPIES ARE NOT OUT YET, SO IT MAY BE A BIT BEFORE THE WINNER GETS THEIR COPY.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast featuring mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors!

You can use this link to purchase and ebook copy of the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like a good read. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the chance. JL_Minter (at) hotmail (dot) com

  3. Love the cover! kckendler at gmail dot com

  4. I think this book is for me. I need some laugh out loud moments with my mysteries. Thanks for the chance to win it!! nschwenkner (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. This sounds like my kind of book, looking forward to reading.


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