Tagged, You’re It is a novelette by Jamie Lee Scott which she labels as A Gotcha Detective Agency Mystery. I felt this was a novel written to a perceived niche market and therefore had an element of unreality. This very diverse group of people could have come together in their business and social relationships, but I believe it unlikely. The setting is a New Year’s Eve party. There will be several minor mysteries throughout the story as to who invited whom and for what purpose (other than to celebrate the holiday.
Mimi and friend/business partner Charles own a detective agency which specializes in discovering cheating spouses, insurance fraud, and various small scams. Charles decides it is time for a party, something he always decides around every holiday. Mimi doesn’t mind so much because Charles loves to decorate and organize parties. Although in this partnership Mimi is the boss, in this story Charles appears to be.
Charles is in a relationship with Anthony, who is not an employee of the detective agency. Mimi is in a relationship with Nick Christianson, a homicide detective. Nick’s partner is the impossibly beautiful Piper, a woman Mimi is not jealous of because Piper is in a relationship with Simone.
Mimi arrives late for the party but that is OK. She is only a guest. Boyfriend Nick arrives even later, and Mimi thinks that is not OK. When Mimi first notes Nick’s arrival, she finds him talking with April an ex-girlfriend and ex-fiancé. Mimi is surprised because she knows Charles is meticulous in making up guest lists so there are no accidental meet-ups with jealous ex-partners. Mimi is a jealous current partner so when Simone asks Mimi if she wants to have some fun playing with Nick and April, Mimi agrees. Simone approaches the couple and directly insults April so completely that Simone for the first time completely occupies the party guests’ attention.
The second time Simone gets everyone’s attention is when she is found murdered in the bathroom with a knife in her stomach. Mimi was especially impressed with how far Simone’s head was from her body. Charles puts the entire party on house lockdown which suits Detective Nick and partner Piper, both homicide detectives, fine. No one leaves. This is beginning to look like an Agatha Christie novel.
Who among such contentious guests could have killed and dismembered Simone? This short novelette has a surprise ending almost no one would see coming. I gave the short story only three Amazon stars because of the endless descriptions of food that I could not identify with. I am with the eat-to-live crowd and do not need or want to read about extravagant food preparation, food prepared to such an extent that I can not understand what it is. The same was true of the detailed description of clothing. The clothing described in this story was the type that couldn’t be worn a second time, the clothes were so out of synch with mainstream clothing that they were garish, and thus only useful once for shock value. Such as April’s red lace panties but you will have to read the story to appreciate the meaning of this example.
I don’t occupy the niche this story was written for but there is still an interesting story with a twisty ending. Because I think the author is writing to a trendy, politically correct audience, I will not read more from this author.