murder mystery, crime, & detective fiction

Sleuthing For Beauty


by Sally Sherlock

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The Illustrated Detective | Sept. 1931 | Vol. IV | No. 4

Est. Read Time: 7 mins

Even a Wedding Has Problems That Must Be Solved. And Suzanne Learns the Folly of Trying to Make a Mystery of Her Honeymoon When the Beauty Sleuth Is on the Case!

Suzanne and I staggered into her pretty apartment late one afternoon. We collapsed in comfortable chairs, and packages dripped from our limp fingers onto the floor.

“Ooooff!” said Suzanne.

“Ooooooh!” I moaned.

“Honestly, Sally, I didn’t know that shopping could be such a task, did you? It’s really hard work.”

“Infant,” I said, adjusting my feet to a comfortable height, “if shopping killed me, I’d still love it. And there’s the comfort of knowing that you have such a lovely trousseau and you’ve been so sensible about money!”

My little neighbor sighed contentedly as she murmured–“That sports suit is a ducky thing, isn’t it, Sally? And my wedding dress! But I did hope we’d find time to get the beauty aids you think I ought to have for a honeymoon. You know, Sally — you old beauty-sleuth — I’d like to take you right along with Bob and me.”

“You’ve got to think of Bob’s feelings now, as well as your own,” I reminded her. “Besides, you won’t need me or any one else along, when we get through planning this beauty kit. A necessary kit, for Love isn’t so blind that he can’t see beauty!”

Suzanne nodded her head in agreement.

“Anyway.” I went on. “I’ve got to go shopping by myself, tomorrow — l want to buy a wedding present for a very dear friend of mine. Now get a paper and pencil, and we’ll just run over what you need for that honeymoon kit.”

Suzanne finally located a pencil, and took off her shoes before she got settled. Then she wrote HONEYMOON BEAUTY KIT across the first page, and looked up at me, her eyes sparkling.

“We’re off!” she said gaily — Shoot!”

“Well, first of all, tell me where you’re going to spend your honeymoon,” I asked.

“But that’s a secret,” Suzanne teased.

“Then you get no beauty kit from me,” I said firmly. “How in the world do you expect me to advise you about the hundred and one things you’ll need to know, unless I know where you’re going?”

“But I’ll need the same things wherever I am, short of the North Pole or the Equator,” argued Suzanne. “It will still be my face.”

“You’re positively old fashioned,” I sniffed. “You don’t have anywhere near the same beauty problems when you’re in different parts of the country. Now — where are you going?”

“On a motor trip,” said Suzanne meekly, “through the mountains and down south to New Orleans, and then up through the southwest to California. And I love the idea, Sally, but even a fifty-mile auto trip makes my skin burn, and my eyelids get red, and I look a perfect mess! And, of course, I can’t carry a whole beauty store with me, or stop every five miles to fix m.V complexion. :lob hates fussy women.”

“Most men do.” I agreed, laughing at Suzanne’s mournful picture of her honeymoon. “But the first thing you must learn is — that happiness is the greatest beautifier you can have. We’ll put that down on the list first.”

My neighbor bent her head over the list and wrote in large capitals.

“Now the next thing we have to plan,” I went on, “is the type of cosmetic kit you are going to carry. If you can possibly manage one, I’d suggest a small, separate case for all beauty aids. This you can carry yourself, and you won’t have to unpack a suitcase when you want to freshen up pronto. If space is very valuable, however, get one of those rubberized kits with a zipper attachment. They can be tucked into any corner of the suitcase and they’re really helpful, too.

“To put in your kit, you’ll need a good cleansing cream first. The one you use now is good — it’s quick melting and put up in a tight jar. I’m sure you won’t have any difficulty getting a fresh jar of the same brand in any town you visit.”

“That’s right,” said Suzanne brightly. “I really don’t need to carry a lot of things, Sally, because I can always replace them when I need to.”

“Don’t depend on that too much,” I cautioned. “If Bob doesn’t like fussy women, he won’t care for a wife, either, who insists that he run down to the drug store for cold cream. Next — in the kit — — you’ll want cleansing tissues, and a nourishing cream to pat under your eyes every night. You’ll need to use that cream a great deal when you are traveling through the south. Then, your skin is so dry that you won’t need an astringent, but a skin tonic is a necessity. If you get a brand that is fragrant, you’ll find it most refreshing and restful to use.”

“That isn’t much, so far,” observed Suzanne, looking critically at the list.

“We won’t make it a long one,”

I assured her, “but there are several more beauty aids we must include. First, a liquid powder. This will protect your skin from windburn or sunburn and keep the dust of the road from getting deeply into the pores. Also — you’ll look fresh and lovely for many miles without having to use a powder puff over and over. That’s particularly bad on a motor trip, for you simply add powder to cover up the grime, and the puff becomes soiled after a few applications.

“And either a liquid or rouge paste ought to be in the beauty kit, too. Naturally, you’ll have face powder–a heavy, clinging kind is best for this type of trip. And by all means pack a deodorant talcum and some drying talcum for your feet. There are several good foot powders that are scented and cooling. You’d better take care of your feet, in case you have to walk back home!”

“I’ll never do that,” laughed Suzanne, “but I’ll keep my feet in good condition, anyway — I might have to run after Bob and bring him back when he gets a glimpse of some of those southern beauties.”

“Oh — we’ll make you just as lovely,” I promised. “N ow — on with the list. You can get a sun-proof cream or lotion instead of that liquid powder I spoke of a few minutes ago. The sun-proof cream might be the very thing for you — ask for a small jar tomorrow, and try it out for the next few weeks. You’ll need a hand cream, too. There are so many non-greasy ones, you can just take your choice. Use it every morning and night — not just in emergencies — and then your hands will keep lovely. Oh yes! — and add a small package of powdered boracic acid — it is such an excellent eyewash.

“Well, I guess that covers the essentials for a beauty kit,” I said, “except those beauty tools that we all just have to have.”

“What do you mean — brush and comb, and things like that?” asked Suzanne.

My little neighbor bounded off the chair in her excitement. “I forgot to show you,” she said breathlessly, dashing into the bedroom, “my Aunt Clara’s wedding present that came this morning.”

In a second she was back, carrying a great, satin-lined box that contained a gorgeous set of toilette accessories from a mirror to a cuticle knife. It was elaborate, but pretty.

“That’s one of the most beautiful sets I’ve ever seen,” I assured Suzanne — “simply scrumptious.”

“Isn’t it?” she asked happily. “You see, Sally, I won’t have to worry about anything but an orange wood stick — everything else is here.”

“And that’s where it ought to stay,” I told her. “Take along only what can be replaced easily and inexpensively at the next town.”

Suzanne carried the case back to her room. “You’re right, of course,” she said, “but I never had a grand set like this with everything matching, and I wanted to show off a little bit.”

“You wouldn’t care much for it by the time you finished your trip?” I gathered up my handbag, hat and gloves and prepared to return to my own apartment, next door. “What you ought to get, Suzanne, are light, simple accessories — and not so many of them. Your hairbrush should be firm, with a wooden back. The comb ought to be light weight, too. And with a flexible nail file, an orangewood stick and a nail brush, you will have enough to keep your manicure looking well for days at a time.

“There’s another little item, too, Suzanne, that you’ll have to think of long and hard if you don’t have a separate case for your cosmetics. Look at those new leak-proof bottles that are being sold at most cosmetic counters. They save you many miles of worry when you have to pack liquids along with your best chiffons. If you can’t get them, then get an extra supply of all size corks. Many of the creams I mentioned come in tubes, too. They are, of course, lighter to carry, and many women prefer them because they are so sanitary.”

Suzanne came to the door with me and stood waiting until I reached my own apartment. “Just one question — “ she said.

“What’s that?”

“Will you help me make up on the fatal day?” said Suzanne.

“You couldn’t keep me away with wild horses,” I promised her. “Brides are easy to make look beautiful–and Bob is going to be glad he asked you when you walk toward the altar. But give the beauty sleuth a chance.”

“How do you mean?” asked my little neighbor.

“Get some rest,” I answered, “Good night!”