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Happy Never After

Cover of Happy Never After

Happy Never After

Callahan Garrity Series, Book 4
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Since retiring from the Atlanta Police Department, Callahan Garrity is really cleaning up with her House Mouse housecleaning company -- especially since she added"crime investigation" to the list of services offered.

Callahan agrees to locate the missing member of the popular '60s girl group, the VelvetTeens, and she doesn't have to search long. Deloras Carter, the a.w.o.l. singer, is found passed out drunk by a swimming pool near the dead body of the trio's former producer. The smoking gun in Deloras's hand suggests that the VelvetTeens won't be reuniting for a comeback tour anytime in the near future ... unless Callahan and her "Mice" can spotlight -- and survive -- a different killer act.

Since retiring from the Atlanta Police Department, Callahan Garrity is really cleaning up with her House Mouse housecleaning company -- especially since she added"crime investigation" to the list of services offered.

Callahan agrees to locate the missing member of the popular '60s girl group, the VelvetTeens, and she doesn't have to search long. Deloras Carter, the a.w.o.l. singer, is found passed out drunk by a swimming pool near the dead body of the trio's former producer. The smoking gun in Deloras's hand suggests that the VelvetTeens won't be reuniting for a comeback tour anytime in the near future ... unless Callahan and her "Mice" can spotlight -- and survive -- a different killer act.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Is this Callahan Garrity?"

    I'd probably heard that voice thousands of times over the years. Heard that high, gutsy contralto pining for lost love in the sixties girl group hits that made her a star. And later, after the songs ran out in the early seventies on those sappy BurgerTown radio jingles. But now, on the phone, she sounded like just another pain in the butt.

    Of course, the two-pack-a-day Kools habit had laid the sandpaper to the vocal cords, and the hot-and-cold-running Dewar's had done the rest. So when she identified herself as Rita Fontaine, the name meant nothing. "Yes," I said impatiently. "What's this in reference to?"

    What pays the bills around here is House Mouse, the cleaning business my mother and I run. We get a lot of women calling looking for work, but I already had all the mice I could handle. I just assumed Rita Fontaine was looking for a cleaning job.

    "I'm Vonette Hunsecker's cousin," she said, as though that made everything okay. She obviously didn't know that Vonette was not on my hit parade. Vonette is the exwife of an old friend and the wife-in-law of the old friend's second wife, Linda Nickells, who is a good pal of mine.

    "Vonette said you could help," Rita said. Her voice said she doubted it. "You're the private detective, right?"

    "That's right," I said warily. "Just exactly what kind of help do you need?"

    She let out a long wheezy sigh. "You never heard of me, of Rita Fontaine, have you?"

    "Afraid not," I said. "Should I have?"

    "That depends. Ever hear of the VelvetTeens?"

    Who hadn't? I'd been a little kid the year when the VelvetTeens hit it big with "Happy Never After," but I can still remember watching their first early appearances on Platter Party, a locally produced teen dance show that ran on WSB-TV, and then later, of course, on The Ed Sullivan Show, and American Bandstand. Since they were from Atlanta, like me, the VelvetTeens were hotter than the Chiffons, the Shirelles, or any of those other mix-'n'-match Motown inventions as far as I was concerned.

    Now it came back to me. She was the lead singer. Of course, that voice. Then I had a brief vision: long skinny legs, mile-high beehive, odd almond-shaped eyes fringed by inch-long fake eyelashes.

    I said it before I could stop myself. "I thought you were dead."

    "Me too," she said.

    What do you say to something like that? "I didn't know Vonette had a famous cousin," was all I could think of.

    "Vonette was famous too," she said. "You didn't know she was a VelvetTeen?"

    All I knew about Vonette was that she was hell on wheels if you crossed her. Before she and C.W. split up, she'd cut out the crotch of every pair of pants the man owned. If Rita Fontaine was Vonette's cousin, famous or not, she probably meant trouble.

    "Uh, no," I said. "Listen, what kind of help is it that you need? See, I don't know if Vonette mentioned it, but my real job is running a cleaning business. I just do the private investigation thing once in a while. And right now, I've got. . . "

    "Forget it," she said. "I'll find someone else.- And she hung up...

About the Author-
  • Kathy Hogan Trocheck is the author of ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series. A former reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, she is also the author of Little Bitty Lies and the Edgar®- and Macavity-nominated Savannah Blues, under the name Mary Kay Andrews.

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Callahan Garrity Series, Book 4
Kathy Hogan Trocheck
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Kathy Hogan Trocheck
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