Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guest Post: Ellen Byerrum

Please welcome Ellen Byerrum, author of the awesome Crimes of Fashion series. She stopped at my blog to talk about fashion and crime solving.

Welcome Ellen!

Lacey Smithsonian: Solving Crimes with Fashion Clues

Some people might not think that fashion and mystery go together. But I do, as I ponder what’s more mysterious than a great outfit? The way it fits and feels and flatters? And what’s more eye-popping fun than a crime of fashion?

I write the Lacey Smithsonian Crime of Fashion mysteries, where style and murder take center stage. Lacey has what I call ExtraFashionary Perception (EFP for short). Every outfit tells a story, especially for Lacey, who is a reluctant fashion reporter in Washington, D.C., The City Fashion Forgot. Although she would like to work on a “hard news” beat that would get her more respect around her newsroom, she has a talent for finding clues in clothing and motives in style a la mode.

We all have this power, but Lacey has it to the nth  degree. She solves crimes with fashion clues. The major crimes in my books are more serious than reckless dressing or shopping while ability impaired; nevertheless, Lacey also finds time to address, in her Crimes of Fashion and Fashion Bites columns, the lesser fashion faux pas around her.

So, what is a crime of fashion? Maybe you’d like to smack someone who wears pajamas in public, or at least issue a fashion citation. Visible panty lines make you crazy. You’d kill for those heels. Figuratively, of course. But another woman might take action: She might shoplift a dress from a boutique, or pinch some posh lingerie.

Ideas for fashion crimes can come from anywhere. I was in a Victoria’s Secret lingerie shop one day while a sales clerk was making a crime report to a policeman. A woman had just stolen an entire drawer full of Victoria’s Secret bras. The clerk didn’t have a very good description of the culprit, but she knew one thing for certain: The thief was a 36C, the size of the stolen merchandise. I watched the cop dutifully write down this fashion clue, and I visualized the suspect lineup. It’s really too bad that 36C is the most common size of woman in America. I’ve haven’t used that particular crime of fashion in a book yet, but someday it might pop up.

Like Lacey, we all tell stories with our clothes, and we intuit much about others’ stories by what they wear. In just one look we make snap judgments about people, before they even open their mouths. Look, there’s a suburban soccer mom! A congressional staffer! A presidential candidate! (Run for your lives.) We label a boy in a blue Mohawk a skateboard punk, a girl in black lipstick, multiple piercings, and choppy hair with a tiara, a Goth princess. In Washington, D.C., we can tell at a glance the lawyers, the lobbyists, and the P-WIPs (“Powerful Women In Pearls”). It’s fun, it’s instinctive, and this skill might even protect us in times of danger.

The books in the Crime of Fashion series all pose questions about fatalities and fashion. For instance:

• What’s a bad haircut got to do with murder? (Killer Hair)
• What happened to a young designer who went missing during World War II, and could there be a connection with the disappearance of a present day Washington, D.C., intern with fashion-industry aspirations? (Designer Knockoff)
• What are the lethal ramifications when an extreme makeover turns an ugly duckling into a swan? (Hostile Makeover)
• A century ago, Romanov princesses were executed wearing jewel-filled corsets. Could there be one lost corset full of jewels still out there somewhere, silent witness to a massacre? (Raiders of the Lost Corset)

In my latest book, Death on Heels, Lacey’s ex-boyfriend is accused of murdering three women, all found barefoot on lonely country roads. Lacey must leave her comfort zone and the District of Columbia to travel back to Sagebrush, Colorado, where she cut her teeth as a reporter. Caught between two men, with a vicious killer on her trail, Death on Heels is a whole new—and potentially fatal—frontier for this fashion reporter.

As I continue the series, I find the books becoming more personal for Lacey, and more dangerous. And I’m always on the lookout for good crimes of fashion, both style-related and otherwise. If you’ve got a good one, let me know.

And thank you so much for inviting me here today.


Thank you so much for stopping by, Ellen! I've said it once and I won't stop saying it: this is a must read series! I can't wait to read all the first 7 books and I know I'll be so impatiently waiting for the ninth novel.

About the Author:


Ellen Byerrum writes the popular Crime of Fashion mysteries, set in bustling Washington, D.C., The City That Fashion Forgot. Featuring style sleuth Lacey Smithsonian, who solves crimes with fashion clues, the eighth book, Death on Heels, takes Lacey out of her comfort zone and into the Wild West where she confronts her past and an old boyfriend who is accused of murder.

While researching fashion, Byerrum has collected her own assortment of 1940s vintage dresses and suits, and the occasional accessory, but laments her lack of closet space. She has been a D.C. news reporter in Washington, a playwright, and holds a Virginia P.I. registration. Although she currently resides in Denver, fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian will continue to be based in Washington, D.C.

Byerrum is currently at work on the ninth book in the Crime of Fashion series, Veiled Revenge. You can find more about Ellen on her Web site or on Facebook.





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...