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The Curse of the Holy Pail [Paperback]

Sue Ann Jaffarian
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 8 2007 The Odelia Grey Mysteries (Book 2)
Is the Holy Pail cursed? Every owner of the vintage Chappy Wheeler lunchboxa prototype based on the 1940s TV western has died. And now Sterling Price, business tycoon and a client of Odelia Greys law firm, has been fatally poisoned. Is it a coincidence that Prices one-of-a-kind lunch pailworth over thirty grandhas disappeared at the same time? Treading cautiously since a recent run-in with a bullet, Odelia takes small bites of this juicy, calorie-free mysteryand is soon ravenous for more! Her research reveals a sixty-year-old unsolved murder and Prices gold-digging ex-fiancée with two married men wrapped around her breasts . . . uh, finger. Mix in a surprise marriage proposal that sends an uncertain Odelia into chocolate sedation, and youve got an unruly recipe for delicious disaster.

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From Booklist

It's only a lunchbox, but someone wants it badly enough to kill for it. Plus-size, middle-aged paralegal Odelia Grey finds out her client, wealthy Sterling Price, has been murdered, and the rarest piece of his collection, a Chappy Wheeler lunch box, is missing. The box has a curse on it--all its previous owners have met with a dire fate. Of course, it's worth a not-so-small fortune, and that kind of money makes ownership worth the risk. The list of suspects is long--Sterling's loyal secretary, his discarded fiancee, his money-grubbing relatives, fellow collectors, overzealous environmentalists, and even Odelia herself. Told in an engaging first-person narration, this is the second book in the humorous Odelia Grey series (Too Big to Miss, 2006). Libraries will want both, as Jaffarian offers the perfectly flawed alternative for readers sick and tired of picture-perfect characters. The wonderfully human Ophelia's adventures will continue in the forthcoming Mother Mayhem. Shelley Mosley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Jaffarian offers the perfectly flawed alternative for readers sick and tired of picture-perfect characters."

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Odelia Grey surely doesn't think of herself as a detective. She's just a paralegal with a keen eye for research. She's also a large sized woman who loves Girl Scout chocolate mint cookies. This is the second of a series of mystery books in which she plays sleuth. The first book is called "Too Big to Miss" and the title is self-explanatory. I loved it. The title of "The Curse of the Holy Pail," however, needs a bit more explaining.
The mystery in this book is centered on lunch pail -- the kind of lunch pail that collectors pay big bucks for. This particular one has brought misfortune to everyone who ever owned it. And after Odelia does some paralegal work for a client and he winds up murdered, she's thrust into a mystery that totally involves her.
The mystery totally involved me too. I found it hard to put the book down and spent many hours thinking about it and trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together as the plot twisted and turned, new characters emerged, and the complexity of the story deepened. I found it fast paced, humorous and very real. And I especially liked the office setting with all its petty politics.
Some of the characters from the first book are back too. There's best friend Zee who's always advising Odelia to stay out of trouble. There's her wheelchair-bound gentleman friend who wants to marry her. There's a cat named Seamus and a dog named Wainwright. There's also a theme throughout about acceptance. But mostly, it's about turning the pages just to find out what happens next. Highly recommended.
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Heroine: Abundant

Sassy, classy, large and in charge. That's corporate paralegal Odelia Grey for you in a nutshell. But if you crave a little more information on her you might be interested to also know that she owns a green pet cat named Seamus. (Yes, really!) And her curiosity, impulsiveness, and a knack for being in the right place but at the wrong time, lead her into some hair-raising situations.
Fortunately Odelia's a sharp cookie and can think her way out of most predicaments, and for those she can't get out of on her own she has a great group of friends to provide back-up.
What worked for me:

I had a blast taking a joy-ride in Odelia's head. She's very perceptive and has a great sense of humor.
The mysteries keep you guessing, but aren't so difficult as to be off-putting to non-mystery buffs.
Her gentleman friend Greg was quite yummy and his appearance in the story offered a nice touch of romance for fans of that genre.
Size-wise Odelia is middle-aged, quite short and rather round. She's been working for a long time at accepting herself, and her support group Reality Check has been very helpful in making that happen. I'm glad that Odelia is starting to speak up for herself and is learning not to be cowed by clothing sales clerks afflicted with superiority complexes!
What didn't work for me:

I didn't mind it because it's both a cause dear to my heart as well as an integral part of the story, but some folks who aren't into the size acceptance movement might feel uncertain about that part of the first book. However, size is not the main issue in the second story. And it's certainly no reason not to pick up this excellent series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A pail of fun June 3 2003
People are killed for many reasons - money, love, drugs, hate - but not many people are killed for a lunch pail, even if it is a one of a kind from a cancelled TV show from the 60's. In Odelia Gray's latest adventure, she feels compelled to investigate the murder of wealthy businessman Sterling Price, who was killed shortly after she was in his office picking up some papers for the law firm she worked for. Price was showing her his prized lunch pail collection, even giving her a Zorro pail, when he showed her the jewel of his collection, Holy Pail, which was the prototype for a lunch pail for the Chappy Wheeler show, an old cowboy show that was cancelled when its star was murdered.
Shortly after Odelia left, Price is found dead and the Holy Pail is missing. Odelia, who really liked Price, begins nosing around and stirs up more secrets than she thought one family could have. At the family home after the funeral, she comes across his ex-fiancé cuddling up to both his son-in-law and his son and finds out that his daughter was plotting to take over his company. Odelia decides that maybe this is a family she really doesn't want to get to know any better. But when her office is trashed and searched and her home is searched as well, she realizes that someone thinks she has the Holy Pail and that, if she doesn't want to be victim number 2, she needs to find both the murderer and the lunch pail. Add in the complication of her boyfriend proposing, her boss getting attacked and having to spend time with her dad and his family, and you have the makings of a very delightful cozy.
This is a fun book; even though you have murder and mayhem, you still sense it doesn't take itself too seriously underneath, and you will find yourself laughing out loud at some of the situations Odelia finds herself in and giving her advice on how to handle people and events.
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