I can't remember the title or author and need help finding both

About 18 months ago I read a series of "crime" books concerning a young woman PI who lives on the south coast. She runs a small "junk shop" on the side and lives in two adjoining bed-sits. She is very friendly with the rather scruffy, but rich, man who runs the Arcade at the end of the pier but her love interest is a policeman who has a lot of emotional baggage and their relationship blows hot and cold.
Although at the beginning of the series the PI (who I think has red hair) travelled her seaside town by bicyle, she ends up with a VW Beetle painted red with black spots, like a ladybird.

I have enquired at my local library from where I borrowed the books but have had no success in finding out who the author is. Can anyone help me please. I beginning to think I've dreamt the whole thing up - if so, I've got some brilliant story lines!!

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Doesn't ring any bells - can you give me a bit more information about Grace Smith and her exploits please?
Thanks for trying but I'm afraid that the love interest (Det. Inspector or some such rank) was widowed as far as i can remember. One story was about a nun found hanging in a disused hotel, in another story our heroine was employed by the owner of a department store and she worked there over one Christmas - something to do with the old man's son, in another she foiled a robbery at the Amusement Arcade, hence Jack, the owner's, attachment to her.

It is so annoying having all this information but not being able to put a name or title to any of it.
Hi Christine - I tried a quick, random Google search and got this: http://www.amazon.com/Pray-Jordan-Lacey-Stella-Whitelaw/dp/0727855921 Looking at the info about 'Wave and Die' I found a reference to a VW Beetle painted like a ladybird, so I reckon this is your gal. Hope it helps!
Julie, you are an absolute star - that's the author and the series, I had a feeling "die or death" was in the title. Oh, what a relief. I just wonder why neither I nor the library girls could find it when we all did various Google searches.

Anyway, thank you again. We can all sleep peacefully again!!!
I've always wished there was some sort of crime writers' directory that listed these things for easy reference... I wonder how hard it would be to create something like that?

Booya! I knew somebody, somewhere had to have done this. Thanks for the link!


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