Off-off-off-off Broadway actress Kate McCall inherits her father’s New York private investigation business after he’s a whole lot of murdered in a life insurance company elevator.
A concrete-carrying, ballroom-dancing construction mule says he fell off the scaffolding and can never work—or dance—again, and then sues the contractor for a whole lot of money.
Kate assembles the eccentric tenants of her brownstone and her histrionic acting troupe to help her crack the cases, and they stir up a whole lot of trouble.
But not as much trouble as Kate, who sticks her nose in the middle of the multi-million-dollar life-insurance scam her father was investigating and gets a whole lot of arrested for murdering a medical examiner.
Will Kate bust the insurance scam, prove who really killed the examiner—and her father—and get out of jail in time to pull off the ballroom sting of the decade? She might, but it's going to be a whole lot of hilarious.
I thought I might hear that sentence one day, but I was even less ready for it than I imagined I would be. I blinked a few times, then walked to one of the toilets, sat down, and gestured at his cigarettes. “I’ll take one of those now.” Some bad news is simply too big to process right away.
He gave me a Camel, lit it, and moved back to the sink. “I work for Mel Shavelson, your father’s attorney. I’m the bearer of bad news. That’s my job.”
He talked about how my father got himself murdered—something about sticking his nose someplace it had no business being, something else about the police finding him late last night (actually, at three o’clock on Friday morning) tied to a chair in an elevator in an office building, two big fat bullet holes where his eyes used to be—but I wasn’t listening.
Instead, I was thinking about the final curtain of the last performance of Bye Bye Birdie. My father had given me flowers, handing them to me on the stage while the audience applauded. They were roses from a Korean market and smelled like ginger.
“Shavelson’s going to read the will, and you’re supposed to be there,” Barnes said. He put his cigarette out in the sink, tossed the butt in the trash, and crossed to the toilet, where I sat watching the Camel burn down to my fingers. (I don’t smoke). He handed me Mel Shavelson’s business card and said, “Date and time’s on the back. Monday morning, ten thirty.”
I took the card, still smelling the ginger roses, grief growing inside me, building, building, getting ready to bust through the wall of shock that had been constructed in the same second the fire hydrant had delivered the bad news, which, as he said, was his job.
“I knew your old man,” Barnes said. “He was a hell of a PI.” And then he left.
There had been a voicemail for me from a Detective Harriman earlier in the day, but it was just a general “Please call me as soon as possible” sort of message. I had been busy, and usually the police only contacted me to verify something or other about Jimmy getting into trouble on the job. Jimmy always worked that kind of thing out for himself and had told me, “Never cozy up to the cops unless you’re impersonating one.” I deleted Harriman’s message and didn’t call him back. Maybe that’s what he was going to tell me, that Jimmy had been murdered. Anyway, now Barnes had told me.
I dropped the Camel in the toilet, looked at the card, and wept like a seventh-grade girl.
---The author is said to write much like Janet Evanovich! I am reviewing her new book, "The Job," soon. :-)
---I am so going to use the initial Fu seen for practicing monologues. Hilarious!
---The only thing that I really wasn't sure if I liked was the extensive wardrobe descriptions every day for every character. Hmmm. I suppose a dedicated actress would notice that as well as internally explain her motivation for everything in a most dramatic manner.
My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars. Thanks for the laughs. I hope Rich Leder writes some funny children's stories someday.
He has written four funny novels to be released in 2014: McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication, McCall & Company: Swollen Identity, Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench, and Let There Be Linda.
He has been the lead singer in a Detroit rock band, a restaurateur, a Little League coach, a literacy tutor, a magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a commercial real estate agent, an indie film director, and a visiting artist for the University of North Carolina Wilmington Film Studies Department, among other things, all of which, it turns out, were grist for the mill. He resides on the North Carolina coast with his awesome wife, Lulu, and is sustained by the visits home of their three college kids.