Harriet Horowtiz (nicknamed “Dirty Harriet”) lives in Boca Raton, Florida and she considers herself “recovered” from being a “Boca Babe.” Boca Babes are high maintenance women who “need” weekly manicures, bi-weekly pedicures, body waxing, a McMansion, a flashy luxurious card – and a husband to provide these things. When Harriet killed her husband in self-defense (he physically abused her) at thirty-five years of age, Harriet decided that her Boca Babe days were over. She unloaded all of her Boca Babe possessions, and she now lives in the Everglades in a remote antiquated cabin. As Harriet describes it, she moved “from skank to swamp.” While she has no electricity (although she has a generator), no neighbors except for alligators, and no land line phone (just her cell phone), Harriet knows that she made the right move because going cold turkey on being a Boca Babe is the only way to go. Harriet hopes that her new surroundings will help her learn to be totally independent.
Harriet’s only possession when she moved was her jewelry, the proceeds of which she used to buy motorcycle (her “hog”). Harriet figures that the bike would be better than therapy for her. Harriet went back to school to learns some skills and she landed a job in a private investigator’s office, where she did skip traces and background checks, and her boss gave her an “undercover” position due to her skills and knowledge about Boca Babes). Eventually, Harriet moved on and started her own P.I. business, ScamBusters, with the aim to expose the distasteful underbelly of Boca.
Business is rolling in at ScamBusters, but Harriet is surprised one day when Contessa Von Phul darkens her doorstep regarding a murder. Nobody messes with the contessa, so Harriet takes the case on. A young migrant worker has been murdered, and the motive of the killer (and his or her identity) are unknown. Most of Dirty Harriet is about Harriet’s sleuthing to find the migrant worker’s killer.
I enjoyed this book, although I found the ending a bit implausible. That said, this is a good read; the author’s writing reminds me of blend of Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich. Harriet is a likeable character; her tough exterior and sassy nature kept me entertained, and I had a good laugh at her wit and sarcasm. This is good debut novel by Miriam Auerbach and I look forward to her future releases.