A Little Trouble with the Facts
Harper, Mar 2008, $13.95
Perhaps it is a classic reaction formation to her still hippie parents but Sunburst Rhapsody Miller wants fame and fortune. She assumes that fortune will come once she becomes famous. Changing her name to Valerie Vane, she begins to gain local acclaim in New York City one celebrity gossip at a time (to the horror of her DNA pool). Soon she obtains work at the prominent Paper as a style section columnist reporting on the rich and famous. However when she becomes the story during one of her cocaine temper fits she is demoted to a dead end job working obituaries.
The call challenged her write up re “Sue Side”; insisting that renowned graffiti artist Malcolm Wallace would never have jumped off the Fifty-ninth Street Bridge especially on the Queens side after taking out a mortgage and going to buy ice cream; besides who jumps into the East River to die. Taking advice from her unknown caller to research not depend on cop truisms, Val begins to investigate whether Malcolm took a swan dive with assistance; soon she begins to uncover official corruption that should bring her career back to life if she lives long enough.
Taking the Hollywood glamour mysteries of Jackie Collins and bringing them to pre 9/11 Manhattan so that the shine is street gritty, Nina Siegal provides an enjoyable chick lit investigative tale. Val is fun to follow as her asides about life defined as gossip and rumor, newly found lost kin, fleeting almost fame, and Malcolm make for a delightful tale that is somewhat amateur sleuth in nature (though she is paid as a reporter). Fans will clamor for more Val Vane investigations.