Star Struck: A Kate Brannigan Mystery
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“There is no one in contemporary crime fiction who has managed to combine the visceral and the humane as well as Val McDermid. . . . She’s the best.”—The New York Times Book Review
“McDermid has a sharp ear for the dialogue and intrinsic humor of the Manchester dialect. . . . She manages, as always, to combine her wit and exuberant writing with a careful and clever plot and oodles of perceptive social observation.”—The Times (London)
Bodyguarding had never made it to Manchester PI Kate Brannigan’s wish list. But somebody’s got to pay the bills at Brannigan & Co., and if the only earner on offer is playing nursemaid to a paranoid soap star, the fast-talking, computer-loving, white-collar-crime expert has to swallow her pride and slip into something more glam than her Thai-boxing kit.
Soon, however, offstage dramas overshadow the fictional storylines, culminating in the unscripted murder of the self-styled “Seer to the Stars,” and Kate finds herself with more questions than answers. What’s more, her tame hacker has found virtual love, her process server keeps getting arrested, and the ever-reliable Dennis has had the temerity to get himself charged with murder.
Nobody told her there’d be days like these . . .
of the kelly-green silk suit underneath, then she took three measured steps into the room on low-heeled pumps that precisely matched the suit. I don’t know about Shelley, but I suspect my astonishment showed. There was an air of expectancy in the woman’s pose. Shelley’s, “Can I help you?” did nothing to diminish it. The woman smiled, parting perfectly painted lips the color of tinned black cherries. “I hope you can, chuck,” she said, and her secret was out. “Gloria Kendal,” I said. “Brenda
kind of money I cost without having good reason.” “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to insult your professionalism. Or to take the piss out of Dorothea. She’s been really good to us.” “Predicting a sudden rush on bacon butties, you mean?” He gave a sheepish grin. “Very funny. No, I mean it. You know how she’s always on the telly? Well, she’s recommended us to quite a few of the programs she’s been on. We’ve got a lot of work off the back of it. She’s great, Dorothea. She really understands
morning. I was trying to get a comment from Jackson and he was going totally ballistic. I know one of his DCs from way back, so I cornered her and asked why Jackson was being even more of a pain than usual and she told me. So don’t expect any favors.” “I’ll bear that in mind.” I grinned. “Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke, though. By the way, did you get anywhere in tracking down who was the source of your story about me minding Gloria?” Alexis savored her last mouthful of smoke and regretfully
imagination, he’d steered clear of the city center and worked his own familiar turf with its restricted numbers of punters, none of whom had much cash to spare. When he’d heard about Dennis’s operation, he’d decided he wanted a slice so last night he’d told two of his brothers he was going into town to “take that scumbag O’Brien’s shop off him.” The next anyone had seen of Pit Bull Kelly had been early that morning. The manager of the cut-price butcher’s shop next door to Dennis’s squat got more
before the Co-op had rescued it from the indignity of emptiness. I bet they’d got a great deal on the rent; wish I’d thought of it. I took the Princess Parkway exit, almost the only car on the road now. Anyone with any sense was behind closed doors, either home writing Christmas cards or partying till they didn’t notice how cold it was outside while they waited for the taxi home. Me, I was sitting in my car opposite the other deadheads in the vast expanse of the Southern Cemetery. Only one of us