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Designer Knockoff Mass Market Paperback – 1 August 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 23 ratings

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Signet (1 August 2004)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 325 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0451212681
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0451212689
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 10.8 x 2.54 x 17.53 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 23 ratings

About the author

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Mystery and thriller writer Ellen Byerrum is a former journalist in Washington, D.C., as well as a produced and published playwright. As challenging as it is, she tries not to repeat herself in her writing, and in pursuit of research and keeping things fresh, she studied for and received her private investigator’s registration for Virginia. She has also researched haunted clothing at the Smithsonian Costume Collections, toured a dying velvet factory in Virginia, and interviewed a host of experts for her books. And while looking into beekeeping and honey making for her latest mystery, she got too close and wound up with a bee sting on her nose.

Her latest book, THE BRIEF LUMINOUS FLIGHT OF THE FIREFLY, is the 1940s Prequel to her Crime of Fashion Mysteries, and features a very young Mimi Smith, the “Great-aunt Mimi” mentioned throughout the series. FIREFLY takes place during WWII in Washington, D.C., in the hot and humid month of June 1943.


FIREFLY will be published as an ebook on Dec. 10 and soon after in Trade Paperback and Hardback as well. The book explores Mimi Smith's life in Alexandria, Virginia, and her job working for the government agency, the Office of Price Administration. Mimi soon begins investigating the links between the murder of "magdalens" (also known as ladies of the evening), huge quantities of stolen sugar, illegal alcohol, and their connection to the black market.

Set decades before Lacey Smithsonian plies her trade as a journalist in D.C., FIREFLY explores Lacey’s Great-aunt Mimi Smith’s wartime journey that brought her to Washington, D.C. the parallels between the two women, including their love of fashion and the clues people wear without knowing it, and the origins of Mimi’s trunk full of mysteries, the trunk Lacey later inherits. And both Mimi and Lacey discover they have a passion for finding out how the story ends.

* * *

Recently, in the year of the arduous pandemic, 2020, Byerrum branched out from her comic adult mysteries with a new children's picture book, SHERLOCKTOPUS HOLMES: Eight Arms of the Law. Available in hardback and trade paperback!

Told with clever rhymes and meter, this children's picture book also includes amusing definitions that rhyme and introduces some basic mystery concepts. It's bright and colorful and features illustrations by talented artist Jacqueline Berkman-Glatigny.

While SHERLOCKTOPUS is a departure from her thriller, THE WOMAN IN THE DOLLHOUSE, and her Crime of Fashion Mysteries, Byerrum has been busy writing a prequel to the Lacey Smithsonian Crime of Fashion Mysteries and updating her early series books.

After retrieving her publishing rights, Byerrum relaunched the early volumes of her Crime of Fashion Mysteries in brand-new ebook and trade paperback editions with gorgeous covers designed by Robert A. Williams. (See below.) The first seven books are currently available as ebooks on various platforms, including Kindle. But never fear, there are more to come. In addition, Byerrum is continuing the series under her own imprint, Lethal Black Dress Press.

Two of the Crime of Fashion Mysteries, KILLER HAIR and HOSTILE MAKEOVER, were made into films for Lifetime Television.

Byerrum's THE MASQUE OF THE RED DRESS, the 11th and latest book in her Crime of Fashion Mysteries, is now available as an ebook and as a trade paperback! MASQUE continues Lacey Smithsonian's adventures as a fashion reporter in Washington, D.C., as she follows the trail of a dangerous crimson costume through the local theatre scene, where stagecraft and spycraft have a lot in common.

And for all those readers who want to see more FASHION BITES--the humorous fashion advice in the Crime of Fashion mysteries--she launched a YouTube Channel, "Ellen Byerrum's Fashion Bites." It's funny, it's fresh, it's Friday Fashion Bites! It's currently on hiatus but it might come back, you never know. There is a link address below, or simply Google Ellen Byerrum and YouTube.

Byerrum also writes plays under the pen name Eliot Byerrum, and she is a former Washington D.C. journalist. In the pursuit of research for her books, she has toured closets at the Smithsonian, traveled to a dying velvet factory, and attended private investigator school in the Commonwealth of Virginia, earning a PI registration in that state.

* * *

Times have been changing in the publishing world for quite a while now, and I am delighted to announce a big change of my own: the relaunch of my Crime of Fashion Mysteries. This heady challenge is possible because I reacquired my publishing rights to the first nine COF books. The series (and my relaunch) begins with KILLER HAIR and DESIGNER KNOCKOFF, which were originally published in 2003 and 2004 by Penguin Putnam, now Penguin Random House. Also available on Kindle are HOSTILE MAKEOVER, GRAVE APPAREL, and RAIDERS OF THE LOST CORSET.

While it was exciting to be ushered into print by one of the Big Five traditional publishers, it eventually became clear that I was heading in a different direction. Because I have heard many sad stories of authors who have not been able to recover their rights, I feel especially fortunate to have accomplished this feat. At present, limited quantities of the original mass market paperbacks can still be found in used bookstores, but Penguin Random House will not be printing any new editions. That is now MY job!

I’m pleased to take this opportunity in the coming months to continue to publish my corrected and updated mysteries as ebooks and in trade paperback format. The new editions feature a much more readable book design and beautifully stylish and evocative covers. The new look now more closely reflects my original intentions for the series and the feel and atmosphere of the stories.

Comedy. Mystery. Romance. Fashion. My Crime of Fashion Mystery series stars a savvy, stylish female sleuth named Lacey Smithsonian. Lacey is a reluctant (but well-dressed) fashion reporter in Washington D.C., "The City Fashion Forgot." Two of my Lacey novels, KILLER HAIR and HOSTILE MAKEOVER, were filmed for the Lifetime Movie Network.

For a change of pace, I went darker with my recent psychological suspense thriller, THE WOMAN IN THE DOLLHOUSE. Best Thrillers calls it "an ingeniously crafted psychological thriller that bewitches on page one and continues to mesmerize until its shocking conclusion. Fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN will love it!"

In addition, a middle-grade mystery, THE CHILDREN DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING, is the first in my projected series starring the precocious twelve-year-old Bresette twins, Evangeline and Raphael. This mystery is based on the first dead body I ever saw. As a ten-year-old future mystery writer, that sight made a lasting impression on me.

And finally, under the pen name Eliot Byerrum, I have published two plays with Samuel French, Inc., one of which, A CHRISTMAS CACTUS, has been widely produced throughout the U.S. and Canada.

More information about my books can be found on my website at

on Facebook at

and on Twitter at

My books may be purchased through bookstores and from Amazon.

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Fuchs Joan
5.0 out of 5 stars Sehr amüsant
Reviewed in Germany on 4 April 2005
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Chris Christensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Fashion Fights Fraud
Reviewed in the United States on 8 June 2015
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shannon Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better the second time
Reviewed in the United States on 20 January 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Book, Great Price
Reviewed in the United States on 18 January 2011
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fashion can be deadly.
Reviewed in the United States on 13 June 2016
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