Happy Never After (Callahan Garrity Series #4)

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Overview

In this fourth installment of the widely acclaimed Callahan Garrity series, the South's favorite cleaning lady/sleuth immerses herself in the world of sixties girl groups and nineties rap groups to hunt the killer of a suave, self-serving record producer. The last thing Callahan needs is a new case. Her maid service is running above capacity and her boyfriend, Mac, is heading to Birmingham to see his ex-wife for the first time in ten years. But she can't resist this case because it involves the VelvetTeens, her ...
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NY 1995 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Pristine. Immaculate. Carefully packaged in Bubble wrap. Never Opened. Sewn binding. Paper over ... boards. 306 p. Callahan Garrity Mysteries (Hardcover). Audience: General/trade; General/trade. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Pristine. Immaculate. Carefully packaged in Bubble wrap. Never Opened. Read more Show Less

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Happy Never After (Callahan Garrity Series #4)

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Overview

In this fourth installment of the widely acclaimed Callahan Garrity series, the South's favorite cleaning lady/sleuth immerses herself in the world of sixties girl groups and nineties rap groups to hunt the killer of a suave, self-serving record producer. The last thing Callahan needs is a new case. Her maid service is running above capacity and her boyfriend, Mac, is heading to Birmingham to see his ex-wife for the first time in ten years. But she can't resist this case because it involves the VelvetTeens, her absolute favorite girl group from the sixties. The surviving VelvetTeens, Rita Fontaine and Vonette Hunsecker, are all set to make a comeback movie deal when their onetime producer, Stuart Hightower, prohibits them from using the VelvetTeen name or singing their old songs. Rita, whose years of alcoholism and dead-end jobs have dulled her judgment, threatens Stuart publicly the day before he's found shot to death by his swimming pool. Nearby lies Rita, unconscious, and everybody thinks it's an open-and-shut case except Vonette, who hires Callahan to prove Rita's innocence. Callahan learns that Hightower had made more enemies than records - from the disc jockey he'd blackmailed to the pop diva he'd scorned to the sullen teenager he'd transformed into a rap sensation to his icily efficient second-in-command at SkyHi Records. Even as Callahan trawls the underside of the music business she must strive to rein in her wayward boyfriend, control the eccentric troupe of "girls" she employs, and avoid the attentions of a killer.

Callahan needs all the help she can get trying to keep Rita Fontaine, a washed up 1960s teenage rock star, out of jail. It's nothing less than murder when Stu Hightower, the vain, temperamental president of a thriving Atlanta recording company, is found dead. But discovering who hated him enough to kill him could send Callahan floating lifeless down a river.

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Editorial Reviews

Sue Grafton
Fresh, confident, intelligent, and amusing. Grab a cold drink, put your feet up, and enjoy yourself.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The prose is tart and lively, the storytelling swift-paced, and the large cast and multiple plot lines deftly handled.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Amusing and engaging ... careful, craftsmanlike writing.
San Jose Mercury News
Callahan and her cohort of continuing characters (her mom, Edna; the ancient cleaning ladies Baby and Sister are great company. If Happy Never After were a song, we'd all be dancing in the streets.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060176372
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/1995
  • Series: Callahan Garrity Series, #4
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 306

Meet the Author

Mary Kay Andrews

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.

Biography

In In 2003, a writer named Mary Kay Andrews burst on the book scene with an entertaining, lighthearted confection entitled Savannah Blues. Hailed as a promising debut, the book received positive reviews; but not everyone realized it was actually the work of journalist-turned-novelist Kathy Hogan Trocheck, author of a bestselling mystery series begun in 1990 and featuring ex-cop-turned P.I. Callahan Garrity.

Trocheck explained in an interview with Reading Group Guides.com the reason for adopting a pseudonym (derived, by the way, from combining the names of her two children): "Because Blues is so different from my Callahan books, I wanted a chance to try for a whole new group of readers, people who like women's fiction, Southern fiction, and still, mysteries. That Mary Kay is a pseudonym for Kathy Hogan Trocheck is not a secret from my fans."

Savannah Blues introduced readers to Eloise "Weezie" Foley, whose marriage to the wealthy Talmadge Evans III suffers a fatal blow when he announces he is in love with someone else. When Talmadge's mistress moves into his Savannah mansion, it's the backyard carriage house for Weezie, who soon begins to devise a plan to get revenge on her cheating hubby. Blues may have been a marked departure from Trocheck's grittier early work, but it was a rousing success on all fronts. Publishers Weekly hailed it as "delightfully breezy, richly atmospheric" and Kirkus reviews called it "pure fun."

Soon, Mary Kay Andrews had assumed a life of her own. A year later, she published Little Bitty Lies, followed in 2005 by the joyfully wacky New York Times bestseller Hissy Fit. Having revisited the world of her irresistible protagonist Weezie Foley twice more in Savannah Breeze and Blue Christmas, Andrews continues to craft her winning brand of witty, Southern-fried fiction -- much to the delight of her many fans.

Good To Know

When Andrews was a journalist at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she covered the famous "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" murder case.

As Kathy Hogan Trocheck, Andrews's mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Awards.

When she isn't writing, Mary Kay Andrews lectures and teaches at writing workshops.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Andrews:

"When I finish writing a book, I always celebrate with my favorite junk foods: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Wink grapefruit soda."

"I have no sense of direction and am incapable of reading a map."

"I'm a charter member of the Salty Dog chapter of the Andy Griffith Show Re-run Watchers club."

"I love afternoon naps, junking, reading, cooking with my husband, anything with avocados, English Setters, old movies, anything blue and white. I hate shopping for clothes, cigarette smoke, math, magic, mimes, scary movies, and Star Trek re-runs."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Kathy Hogan Trocheck (real name)
    2. Hometown:
      Atlanta, Georgia
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 27, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tampa, Florida
    1. Education:
      B.A. in newspaper journalism, University of Georgia, 1976
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

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.

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