Nikki Harper has a job that most of us, at least these days, would not envy. She sells real estate in Los Angeles, California. Luckily, Nikki deals in high-end properties, and she has customers who are happy to spend millions in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Nikki inadvertently becomes involved in a murder when Rex March, husband of her mother’s friend and popular star of that immortal 70’s TV series, Shipwrecked Vacation (Are you laughing yet?) turns up dead. Worse, Rex’s body is in the bed of Nikki’s business partner and good friend, Jessica Martin. To further complicate the situation, Rex had “died” six month earlier in a plane crash. Because the main suspect is Jessica, Ms. Harper determines to find the murderer and clear her partner’s name.
Nikki is privy to more Hollywood insider information that most because her mother is Victoria Bordeau, beloved screen actress of the 40’s and 50’s. Although Nikki‘s childhood was entertainingly dysfunctional, she grew up knowing the cream of Hollywood society, and it is her mother’s social contacts and love of snooping that make Nikki’s quest so entertaining.
Cheryl Crane knows whereof she writes; her mother was Hollywood legend, Lana Turner, and Cheryl admits that the relationship, which consisted of love, admiration and worry, is based on her own larger-than-life parent.
Because Victoria, through the years, has been kind to just about everybody - bathroom attendants as well as billionaires - Nikki is able to meet a wide variety of folks, each of whom knows just a little bit about the situation. As she puts the facts together and winnows out the unusable information, she retains the reader’s total interest.
The murdered man’s widow, Edith March, is thrilled when he dies the first time and totally disgusted when he dies the second. Naturally she is a suspect, but, like many persons of interest, she is an engaging character, and we don’t want her to be the killer. She is not the only likeable suspect, making the mystery even more engaging.
Early in her investigation, a friend (who happens to be a cop) says to Nikki, “You’ve got your secrets. We both know that. Those secrets are sometimes what define us.” It’s Nikki’s hope to uncover the secrets without destroying lives. She succeeds admirably.
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org