Category Archives: Stuart Kaminsky

I Want to Hold Your Hand*

As this is posted, it’s 55 years since the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Talent, hard work, serendipity and luck came together, and the Beatles became an international phenomenon. Even now, there are Beatles fan clubs, online Beatles discussion groups, and so on. And that’s not to mention the myriad Beatles cover and tribute bands.

It’s interesting to speculate on what it is that brings some people and bands worldwide fame. Whatever it is, fans flock to their concerts and other appearances. And those fans can be passionate about their hero-worship, too. We see that in real life, as people pay top dollar for tickets and memorabilia, and try as hard as they can to get close to their idols. It’s there in crime fiction, too.

In Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side, for instance, we are introduced to Heather Badcock, who lives with her husband, Arthur, in the new council housing in St. Mary Mead. She is thoroughly excited when she learns that famous film star Marina Gregg has purchased a local property, Gossington Hall, and will open it to the public for an upcoming charity fête. Heather hero-worships Marina Gregg and can’t wait to see her. On the day of the big event, she takes her turn to speak to her idol. Not long afterwards, Heather sickens and then dies of what turns out to be a poisoned drink. At first, it’s believed that the poison was originally meant for Marina, since it was her drink. But before long, we learn that Heather was the intended victim all along. Miss Marple interests herself in the case, since she’s already met Heather, and she and her friend, Dolly Bantry (the original owner of Gossington Hall), work to find out who the killer is.

Fans of Stuart Kaminsky’s Toby Peters series will know that those novels often take place in Hollywood, among the ‘Hollywood set.’ Several of the characters are megastars, who’ve got avid fans and large followings. That doesn’t keep these stars safe, though…

In Michael Connelly’s The Overlook, L.A.P.D. detective Harry Bosch and his police partner, Ignacio ‘Iggy’ Ferras are investigating the murder of physicist Stanley Kent. He was killed on an overlook near Mullholland Drive, and, as you can imagine, Bosch and Ferras are interested in anyone who might have been in the area at the time of the murder. And that’s just what worries twenty-year-old Jesse Milner, who’s moved to Hollywood to try to ‘make it.’ He was near the crime scene, sneaking onto the property of superstar entertainer Madonna, with whom he’s obsessed. His goal was to get a photograph or some sort of memento to send back to his mother to let her know he’s all right. Instead, he becomes a witness to a complicated crime.

Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion introduces readers to beloved television personality Alan Daniels. He’s got an absolutely devoted following, and quite a lot of money and ‘clout.’ In fact, he’s poised for big success in films, too, and is hoping the crossover will work well. Then, everything changes. The body of seventeen-year-old Melissa Stephens has been discovered; and, in several ways, her murder resembles the murders of six other women being investigated by the Murder Squad at Queen’s Park, London. And it’s not long before some of the evidence begins to suggest that Daniels might be involved in these crimes. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) James Langton, Detective Sergeant (DS) Anna Travis, and the rest of the Murder Squad know that Daniels has a devoted following and a lot of influence. He’s a media darling, too, which makes things even more challenging. If he is the murderer, of course, he’s responsible for some terrible crimes. If he’s not, then the police will have wreaked media havoc for nothing. It’s a delicate investigation, made all the more so by Daniels’ superstardom.

Superstar Gaia Lafayette is the subject of one plot thread of Peter James’ Not Dead Yet. She’s become a worldwide sensation, with avid fans everywhere. When she announces her plan to visit her hometown of Brighton to do a film, everyone’s excited. Well, not quite everyone. Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Brighton and Hove Police is well aware that having such a megastar in town will mean large crowds and plenty of opportunity for mischief and more. What’s more, his supervisor has made it clear that Grace and his team will be responsible to work with the celebrity’s personal staff to provide security. Grace’s team is spread thin enough, and he doesn’t relish the idea of giving up even more of his people. But this isn’t optional. There’s already been one attempt on the superstar’s life, and it’s quite likely there’ll be another. Gaia and her entourage arrive, and the filming begins. Now, Grace and his staff will have to protect Gaia as best they can, as someone out there is trying just as hard to kill her.

And then there’s Katherine Dewar’s Ruby and the Blue Sky. In it, a band called the Carnival Owls makes it big, winning a Grammy Award for one of their songs, During the acceptance ceremony, the band’s lead singer, Ruby, makes an impassioned speech that encourages sustainability, and urges people not to shop for new things. And this isn’t the rant of an unknown zealot, either. The band has become a phenomenon, and millions of people are eager to heed what Ruby says. That ‘star power’ ends up being a real disadvantage when some very dangerous people try to stop her from pushing her sustainability agenda.

It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that propels some people to international superstardom. But something does. And when it does, there’s all sorts of fame, fortune and more to be had. But it can be dangerous, too…

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is…oh, come on, you know this one, right?!

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Katherine Dewar, Lynda La Plante, Michael Connelly, Peter James, Stuart Kaminsky

Life On a Film Set*

As this is posted, it’s 126 years since Thomas Edison built the world’s first film studio. Since that time, of course, films have become integral to many cultures. And the film industry is a lucrative one. Little wonder millions of people dream of being film stars or film executives.

But film sets and film studios are not always the happy, dream-world places they might seem to be. If you look at crime fiction, at least, you find that there’s plenty of mayhem on set. And that makes sense, when you consider all of the disparate (and sometimes clashing) personalities, all of the money involved, and so on.

For instance, Carter Dickson’s (AKA John Dickson Carr) And So to Murder features Pineham Studios, where author Monica Stanton has been hired to work with bestselling author William Cartwright on an adaptation of his latest novel for Albion Films. In the meantime, megastar Frances Fleur is working on her own new film for Albion, so the company has plenty at stake. It’s a dream job for Monica, but things soon go wrong. For one thing, she and Cartwright don’t get along. For another, soon after she starts work, there are two attempts on her life. Why would someone want to kill an up-and-coming novelist who’s just beginning a career as a scriptwriter? Cartwright gets Sir Henry Merrivale involved in the case, and he works out who’s behind it all.

In one of Ellery Queen’s ‘Hollywood’ novels, The Four of Hearts, Queen has been hired to work as a scriptwriter for Magna Studios. The project is to be a biopic of the lives of major stars Blythe Stuart and John Royle. The couple had a stormy, very public, love affair that ended years ago. They both married other people, and each had a child. At first, the studio isn’t sure that the stars will consent to work on the film, but to everyone’s surprise, they do. In fact, they re-kindle their romance, and decide to marry again. That wasn’t the story that Magna Studios had envisioned, but it’s decided to make the best of the situation and turn the wedding into a Hollywood affair. The couple marry on an airstrip, with great fanfare, and then take off for their honeymoon, with Stuart’s daughter and Royle’s son in tow. When the plan lands, the couple is found dead of what turns out to be poison. At first, it looks as though one of the adult children might be responsible, but Queen looks into the matter and finds that these murders have their roots in the past.

One of Stuart Kaminsky’s series features Los Angeles PI Toby Peters. Before he became a private investigator, Peters worked for a few years as a security guard for Warner Brothers Studio. So, he’s familiar with the way studios work, and he still has several contacts in the film industry. His cases frequently involve Hollywood stars, too. And the historical context (1940s) of the series means that Peters encounters some of Hollywood’s ‘Golden Age’ starts, such as Errol Flynn, Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, and Peter Lorre.

There’s also B.C. Stone’s Kay Francis novels, Murder at the Belmar and Midnight in Valhalla. These novels feature the famous star as the protagonist. So, readers go ‘behind the scenes’ of what happens on Hollywood sets and within the Hollywood community.

Even if you’re not a star, working on a film set can be dangerous. For example, Michael Connelly’s Lost Light is in part the story of the murder of Angella Barton, who is found murdered in the vestibule of her apartment building. At the time of the murder, LAPD detective Harry Bosch works a little on the case, but isn’t officially assigned to it. Four years later, it still haunts Bosch, but he hasn’t been able to follow up. By that time, though, he’s taken early retirement and started his own PI business. He decides to look into the matter again when he finds that the case wasn’t solved satisfactorily. Bosch learns that this murder is related to a US$2 million robbery from the set of a film that Barton’s employer was making. That link allows Bosch to solve the case.

And then there’s Shadaab Amjad Khan’s Murder in Bollywood. Khan himself has been a Bollywood script writer and actor, and is the son of noted Bollywood star, Amjad Khan. So, he’s familiar with the ins and outs of life in the Bollywood community. In this novel, Nikhil Kapoor, Bollywood’s top director, is found dead in his writing studio. Not many hours later, his wife, famous actress Mallika Kapoor, also dies, of what looks like a tragic drug overdose. There’s pressure to label both of these deaths as accidents, but Senior Inspector Hoshiyar Khan sees little pieces of evidence that suggest otherwise. With the support of his boss, Khan looks into the matter more deeply. As he does, readers get to know what life is like in a Bollywood studio, and how integrally related that community is into the culture of Mumbai and of India in general.

Studios and film sets have come a long way since Edison’s time. But they’re still fascinating places, and anything can happen on a film set. So, it’s little wonder we see them in crime fiction.

ps. The ‘photo is of a ‘green screen,’ of the sort that’s used in many films.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Yes.

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Filed under B.C. Stone, Carter Dickson, Ellery Queen, John Dickson Carr, Michael Connelly, Shadaab Amjad Khan, Stuart Kaminsky

But We Do Our Own Thing, And We’re Having Fun*

Throughout much of history, there’ve been social and professional groups that haven’t conformed to what the rest of society was doing. I’m not talking here of religious groups; to me, that’s a different matter. Rather, I mean groups who have a unique professional or social (sometimes both!) culture that can set them apart from ‘the rest of us.’

Groups like that can become insular; but even when they don’t, they generally have their own sort of culture and unwritten rules. And that can make it a challenge for ‘outsiders,’ who might not understand that culture and those rules. Such groups can make for really interesting additions to a crime story, though. When the story’s done effectively, readers can learn a little about a different sort of lifestyle. And the author can add some tension as members of this sort of group get mixed up in murder cases.

The acting community (stage or screen) has traditionally been thought of in this way. In fact, there was a time when actors were expected to stay to themselves and weren’t welcomed elsewhere.  Even today, the acting community has its own culture.

Agatha Christie explored that culture in several of her stories. For instance, we get a peek at it in After the Funeral. In that novel, wealthy patriarch Richard Abernethie dies, and his family gathers for the funeral. Afterwards, Abernethie’s sister, Cora Lansquenet, says that he was murdered. At first, everyone hushes her up. But, when she herself is murdered the next day, it seems that she was right. The family attorney, Mr. Entwhistle, asks Hercule Poirot to investigate, and he agrees. Two of the ‘people of interest’ in the case are Abernethie’s niece, Rosamund Shane, and her husband, Michael ‘Mick.’ They are actors, and, as Mick says, they’ll be able to produce their own play with their share of their uncle’s inheritance. As Entwhistle and Poirot spend time with them, we get a look at the acting world, the way it works, and some of its priorities.

We get an even closer look at the sometimes very unconventional world of film acting in Stuart Kaminsky’s Toby Peters novels. Peters is a Los Angeles- based PI who once worked on the security staff of Warner Brothers’ Hollywood film lot. So, he’s very familiar with the acting and film cultures. And his knowledge gives him insight into the cases he investigates. The series takes place in the 1940’s, during the ‘Golden Age’ of the Hollywood mega-studios like Warner Brother and MGM. And several of the characters with whom he interacts are actual historical figures, such as Errol Flynn and Judy Garland. B.C. Stone’s novels featuring real-life star Kay Francis as the sleuth also shed light on this era.

The culture of other entertainers, such as magicians and carnival artists, is also often non-conformist and quite different to what most of us are accustomed to in our own lives. Elly Griffiths shows us that culture in her Max Mephisto/Edgar Stephens series. This series takes place in the 1950s, and features Stephens, who is a Detective Inspector (DI). His old friend, and wartime (WWII) fellow soldier is a magician named Max Mephisto. Mephisto is a member of the ‘carnival culture,’ and he travels and performs on the seaside resort circuit. As such, he’s a very helpful resource for Stephens, whose lifestyle is a little more conventional. And in the novels, readers get the chance to see what life is like for ‘carneys’ who don’t stay in one place long, and whose friends are mostly others who are in the same life.

In one plot thread of Kate Ellis’ The Merchant House, we get the chance to know a little more about another unique culture: the travellers’ culture. Travellers don’t always conform to the rest of society. Instead, they have their own ways of doing things, and their own expectations. We learn a little about this life when the body of a young woman is discovered at Little Tradmouth Head, Tradmouth. Detective Sergeant (DS) (later Detective Inspector (DI)) Wesley Peterson and the Tradmouth CID team begin to investigate. After a time, the trail leads to a group of travellers that has set up camp in the area. One of these people is Chris Manners, who may have some information on the victim. With him lives a little boy named Daniel. And that means that Social Services takes an interest. When the Social Services representative, Lynne Wychwood, visits, she has to handle the matter carefully. This is a different community, with its own ways of living, that don’t always conform to what others think ‘should’ happen. Her visit to the travellers doesn’t solve the murder. But it does give some insight into the travellers’ lives. You’re absolutely right, fans of Claire McGowan’s The Lost.

And then there’s the surfer community that we meet in Don Winslow’s novels about Boone Daniels, The Dawn Patrol and The Gentleman’s Hour (there’s also Rogue Ride, a short story featuring Daniels). Boone Daniels is a former San Diego police detective who’s become a PI. In reality, though, he’s a dedicated surfer who’d much rather be on his surfboard than on a case. He and his friends, whom he nicknames the Dawn Patrol, spend as much time surfing as they can, and, as we get to know them (and Daniels), we learn about the surfing community. It’s a unique group of people who, quite deliberately, don’t conform to the larger society. And they like it that way. In fact, in The Dawn Patrol, Daniels comments on how much he resents the Beach Boys for calling a lot of attention to surfers and the surfing community:
 

‘So many people moved to the SoCal coast, it’s surprising it didn’t just tilt into the ocean. Well, it sort of did; the developers threw up quick-and-dirty condo complexes on the bluffs above the ocean, and now they’re sliding into the sea like toboggans.
 

In a lot of ways, Daniels and his friends would far rather have been left outside of ‘regular’ society.

Not every community conforms to what ‘the rest of us’ might expect. On the one hand, that can make such groups seem unusual at best. On the other, it adds to their distinctiveness, and can make this sort of group an interesting context for a novel.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from the Waffle Stompers’ Garage Ska.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, B.C. Stone, Claire McGowan, Don Winslow, Elly Griffiths, Kate Ellis, Stuart Kaminsky

He’s Gonna Save My Reputation*

People’s reputations sometimes matter a great deal. After all, most people don’t want others gossiping about them. And, of course, reputation has a lot to do with how one’s perceived at work. The wrong reputation can get a person fired, not promoted, or not hired in the first place. It stands to reason, then, that people do a lot to protect their reputations.

Sometimes, people do a lot to protect another person’s reputation too, especially if that someone else is a friend or loved one. And that’s just as true in crime fiction as it is in real life. For instance, there are plenty of crime novels in which a character doesn’t provide an alibi for a crime, because that alibi might compromise someone else. Protecting someone’s reputation can add motive, character development, and even a plot point to a crime novel. Here are just a few examples; I know you’ll think of plenty of others.

We see that sort of gallantry in Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles. In that novel, Captain Hastings visits an old friend, John Cavendish, who lives at his family’s home, Styles Court, with his wife, Mary, his brother, Lawrence, his stepmother, Emily Inglethorp, her husband, Alfred, and her ward, Cynthia Murdoch. Cynthia becomes a ‘person of interest’ when Emily Inglethorp is poisoned. She was present at the time, she worked in a dispensary (and so, had the requisite knowledge), and she’d been told that she would be provided for in the victim’s will. The family doesn’t want a scandal, so they’re reluctant to have any sort of investigation. But Hastings learns that his friend, Hercule Poirot, is in the area. He persuades the family to engage Poirot’s services, and the investigation begins. When Cynthia learns that there is no financial provision for her, she isn’t sure what she’ll do. At that time, and in that place, a respectable young lady doesn’t live on her own. And Cynthia doesn’t feel she can stay on at Styles Court. What’s more, she’s been mixed up in a murder investigation – enough to tarnish any young lady’s reputation. Hastings decides to try to protect her by proposing marriage. It’s not spoiling the story to say that things don’t work out that way, but it’s an interesting example of wanting to protect someone’s reputation. You’re right, fans of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Strong Poison, that’s a similar sort of situation.

In Stuart Kaminsky’s Bullet For a Star, we are introduced to Los Angeles PI Toby Peters. He is a former security guard at Warner Brothers Studio, so he knows the Hollywood industry. That’s in part why producer Sid Adelman wants his help with a case of blackmail. It seems that famous star Errol Flynn (the book takes place in 1940) was photographed with a very young girl, and someone is threatening to release that photograph to the press and public. That, of course, will ruin Flynn’s reputation, and his bankability. Adelman wants to protect both, so he’d decided to pay the blackmailer. He wants Peters to deliver the money and collect the photograph and the negative. Peters agrees and goes to the appointed meeting place. But while he’s there, someone kills the blackmailer, steals Peters’ gun, and takes the print and the negative. Now, Peters has to get the photograph and negative back. He also has to clear his name, since his gun was used in the murder.

Catherine O’Flynn’s The News Where You Are introduces readers to TV presenter Frank Allcroft. He’s doing well at his job, he has a solid marriage, and a good relationship with his eight-year-old daughter. But he’s reached a sort of crossroads in his life, and he doesn’t feel settled. What’s more, he’s dealing with the death of his predecessor, friend, and mentor, Phil Smedway, who was killed in a hit-and-run incident while he was out jogging. Allcroft’s restlessness draws him to the scene of Smedway’s death, and he notices some things. The road is straight and wide – plenty of room for even an impaired driver to swerve and avoid a pedestrian. The death happened during daylight, too, so it would have been easy to see Smedway. Now, Allcroft gets curious about what really happened, and starts to ask questions. And he finds that wanting to preserve a reputation plays a role in the story.

Zoë Ferraris’ Finding Nouf takes a different perspective on preserving someone’s reputation. In the novel, Palestinian-born Nayir ash-Sharqui works as a desert guide in the Jeddah area of Saudi Arabia. He gets drawn into a murder investigation when his friend, Othman ash-Shrawi, asks him to find out what happened to his sixteen-year-old sister, Nouf. It seems that Nouf went missing and was later found dead in a wadi. Othman wants to know what happened to her, and Nayir agrees to look into things. In the process of seeking answers, he meets Othman’s fiancée, Katya Hijazi, who is a medical examiner. As the two work to find out the truth, we learn how important reputation is in this culture, especially for women. For instance, women do not go out without a male family member or ‘official’ male escort. And they’re expected to dress and act in accordance with the very traditional Islamic culture of the area. Any whispers that they are doing otherwise can have all sorts of consequences. So, Katya has to be very careful about where she goes, whom she speaks to, and so on. She is less conventional in her thinking than Nayir is, but she understands what the risks are. At one point in the novel, the two of them are walking when they are approached by a man:
 

‘‘In the name of Allah, and Allah’s peace be upon you, Sir, pardon me, but your wife is not properly veiled.’’
 

Nayir has to think quickly in order to protect Kaya’s reputation. Here’s his response:
 

‘Nayir frowned, ‘Are you looking at my wife?’ he asked. The man opened his mouth, but Nayir interrupted. ‘She’s my wife,’ he shouted. ‘You’d better have a good excuse for staring at her!’
The man took a step back. ‘Apologies, brother, but you understand it’s a matter of decency.’
‘That’s no excuse.’ Nayir moved closer with a menacing squint. ‘Don’t you have your own wife to worry about?”
 

The ruse works, and Katya is spared any humiliation.

Brian Stoddart’s Christian ‘Chris’ Le Fanu is a police superintendent in Madras (today’s Chennai) during the 1920s – the last years of the British Raj. As the series begins, he is separated from his wife, who lives in England, He shares his home with his housekeeper, an Anglo-Indian named Roisin McPhedren. He’s in love with Roisin, and she with him. But in that place, and at that time, a public relationship is out of the question. If word of it gets out, she won’t be able to find any sort of respectable work. And his career is at risk. One story arc in this series is the way each of them protects the other’s reputation.

The way other people see us, and the reputations we have, do matter. So it’s little wonder we care about those perceptions. And it’s little wonder that we work to protect the reputations of those who matter to us.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer’s My Boyfriend’s Back.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Brian Stoddart, Catherine O'Flynn, Dorothy L. Sayers, Stuart Kaminsky, Zoë Ferraris

Your Name’s Not Down, You’re Not Coming In*

You probably see them without even thinking about it. They’re there when you go to clubs, certain places such as museums, tourist attractions, and sometimes government buildings. Yes, I’m talking about security people.

They really do play an important role in our lives, if you think about it. It can be annoying to have your handback searched or have to empty your pockets when you go to a major sporting event. But at the same time, many people argue that security procedures keep everyone safer. If you go to a nightclub, it’s good to know you can shout for security if there’s a problem.

Security people play a part in crime fiction, too. And that makes sense. Their role is to prevent trouble if they can and stop it if it starts. So, they develop the ability to ‘read’ people and watch for early ‘warning signs.’ Those ‘warning signs’ and that trouble are often the focus of crime novels, so it’s a fairly logical match. There are lots of examples in the genre; there’s only room in this one post for a few of them.

One of Stuart Kaminsky’s most popular series features Toby Peters. Fans can tell you that Peters started out as a security guard for Warner Brothers Studio (the series takes place in the 1940s). He was fired from the position and has since become a private investigator. Still, the various big studios see him as a ‘known quantity,’ and so do the Hollywood stars with whom Peters interacts as the series goes on. So, they often turn to him when there’s trouble. And Peters knows the town and the studios, so he’s got the background he needs to do the job.

There’s an interesting instance of private security in Robert Colby’s novella No Experience Necessary. Glenn Hadlock has recently been released from prison and is looking for a new start. It’s not easy, though, as plenty of places won’t hire an ex-convict. So, he pays attention when he sees an advertisement for a bodyguard/escort. It seems that wealthy Victor Scofield is looking for personal security for his wife, Eileen. He himself is disabled and can’t leave his home. But he doesn’t want to restrict his wife. So, he’s hit on the idea of hiring someone to provide security and be a chauffeur/escort. Hadlock gets the job, and all starts out well enough. The work isn’t difficult, Eileen Scofield is pleasant company, and the pay and benefits are good. But Hadlock learns soon enough that there’s more going on here than it seems, and he’s in much more danger than he imagined.

In Tony Hillerman’s Hunting Badger, we are introduced to Deputy Sheriff Teddy Bai. He works part time as a security officer in a casino on the Ute Reservation. One night, the casino is robbed by a group of far-right militia members who want to use the takings to buy weapons. If you know anything about casinos, then you know that security is a big priority. It’s nearly impossible to take anything, let alone a large haul of money, without ‘inside help.’ And the police think that Bai has provided that help. He says that he’s innocent, though, and his friend, Navajo Tribal Police Officer Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Manuelito, believes him. So, in one plot thread of this novel, she asks Sergeant Jim Chee to help her find out what really happened at the casino. It turns out that this case has its roots in the past and is connected to an old Ute legend.

Eoin Colfer’s Daniel McEvoy is an Irish ex-pat and former member of the military. Now, he works as a bouncer at Slotz, a rundown, dirty bar/casino in fictional Cloisters, New Jersey. It’s not the sort of place you go for an elegant dinner and some time at the baccarat table. In his line of work, McEvoy runs into all sorts of low-life, sometimes very dangerous people.

In Zoë Sharp’s Killer Instinct, we are introduced to Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox. She’s a former member of Her Majesty’s Special Forces, who now lives near Lancaster. One night, her friend Clare persuades her to go to the New Adelphi Club, where there’s to be a karaoke competition. Clare wants to take part but wants some moral support. So, the two women go to the club. When another contestant tries to attack Clare, Fox steps in and the other contestant ends up getting ejected from the club. The owner, Marc Quinn, finds out what Fox has done, and decides to hire her as part of the security team. That doesn’t go down well at first with some of the other security folk, since Fox is a woman. But she proves herself to be more than a match when it comes to preventing trouble in the first place and stopping it when it starts. As she starts to work at the club, Fox soon discovers some ugly things that the club is hiding. She starts asking questions and finds that some people are determined to do whatever it takes to keep her from finding out the truth.

Of course, not all security is physical security. With today’s Internet and other electronic technology, cyber security becomes ever more important. That’s where Cara Black’s Aimée Leduc comes in. She and her business partner, René Friant, own Leduc Detective, a private investigation firm. Leduc’s specialty is computer security, which proves useful in Murder in the Marais. In that novel, an encrypted code that Leduc is hired to decrypt turns out to be connected to two murders.

Security experts can be very useful at the front door, so to speak. And they can make interesting characters, too. Which have stayed with you?

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Klaxon’s The Bouncer.

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Filed under Cara Black, Eoin Colfer, Robert Colby, Stuart Kaminsky, Tony Hillerman, Zoë Sharp