Posted by Althea Jenkins
for the Southern Beauty Shop Mysteries
by Lila Dare.
My name’s Althea Jenkins. Y’all may not know me if you don’t live in St. Elizabeth, Georgia, or get your hair done at Violetta’s. Of course, you may have read about me in Tressed to Kill or Polished Off where Violetta’s daughter, Grace, tells about tracking down a couple of murderers. That girl’s a pistol. Not that she got everything right. The way she casts aspersions on my driving is downright insulting, but I haven’t said anything to her about it. We should all make allowance for each other, is what I say. Unless we’re talking about Grace’s ex-husband Hank; he’s no better than a skunk in human form and he should be tarred and feathered for the way he cheated on Grace and broke her heart.
I have hopes, though, that her heart’s mending a bit. What with Martin Shears, that Pulitzer prize-winning political reporter, trying to talk her into moving to D.C. to be closer to him, and Special Agent John Dillon right around the corner here, she’s not lacking for beaux. Me, now, I’ve been seeing my friend Kwasi Yarrow for a couple of months. Violetta’s making a big deal out of it, because I haven’t been serious about anyone since my William died back around the same time Vi lost her Gene, but we’re taking it slowly. Still, it’s nice to have a man around on occasion, and his night vision’s better than mine, being as he’s a few years younger, so he can drive when we have after-dark parties and what-have-you to attend.
If you’re ever in St. Elizabeth, you should stop into Violetta’s Salon and say hey. I might have a gap in my schedule to give you a facial with my own, organic products which I’m marketing now as Althea’s Skincare Solutions. They’re doing right well and I might offer them on the internet if I can get Rachel or one of her computer-savvy friends to show me how to do up a web site or visit on that Facebook thing.
Speaking of Rachel, that girl is destined for more than being a shampoo girl at the salon or my name’s not Althea Beatrice Jenkins. She’ll be graduating high school soon and I know she wants to go to college; she wants to study chemistry, bless her heart. If her parents can’t swing the tuition, it might be up to some of her salon friends to chip in. I’ve already got a plan, if it comes to that, but ssh! I don’t want word getting back to Rachel, now.
And maybe while you’re waiting for your facial, you’ll let Stella Michaelson do your nails. That gal’s a wizard with a file and nail polish! She’s had a hard time of it lately, what with finding out about her husband Darryl’s affair with that beauty pageant woman who had the morals of a coonhound in heat, but I think they’re going to work through it. Stella’s stronger than she looks, and they’ve got their Jessie to consider, after all.
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t said much about Violetta Terhune, being as she’s my best friend and all, and owns the salon. Well, the fact is, I can’t say enough about Vi and a puny paragraph or two just wouldn’t do her justice. You’ll have to read one of those books I mentioned earlier to get to know Vi better.
Oops, I see my next appointment’s here.
Lila Dare writes the Southern Beauty Shop mystery series which features Althea and all “the girls” at Violetta’s Salon. Tressed to Kill (May 2010) chronicles their first successful attempt at sleuthing and Polished Off, released last week, is their second outing. Look for A Deadly Shade in February 2012 and read more about the series, including an excerpt, at www.liladare.com .