Spying in High Heelsby Gemma Halliday
L.A. shoe designer, Maddie Springer, lives her life by three rules: Fashion. Fashion. Fashion. But when she stumbles upon the work of a brutal killer, her life takes an unexpected turn from Manolos to murder. And things only get worse when her boyfriend disappears - along with $20 million in embezzled funds - and her every move is suddenly under scrutiny by the… See more details below
L.A. shoe designer, Maddie Springer, lives her life by three rules: Fashion. Fashion. Fashion. But when she stumbles upon the work of a brutal killer, her life takes an unexpected turn from Manolos to murder. And things only get worse when her boyfriend disappears - along with $20 million in embezzled funds - and her every move is suddenly under scrutiny by the LAPD's sexiest cop. With the help of her post-menopausal bridezilla of a mother, a 300 pound psychic and one seriously oversexed best friend, Maddie finds herself stepping out of her stilettos and onto the trail of a murderer. But can she catch a killer before the killer catches up to her...
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Read an Excerpt
Spying in High Heels
By Gemma Halliday
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
I was late.
And I don't mean the kind of late where I spent too much time
doing my hair and now I was stuck in traffic. I mean I was
late late. The kind of late where the 99% effective warnings
on the side of condom boxes flashed before my eyes as I white
knuckled my way down the 405, silently screaming, why me? Why,
oh why, me? I'm a new millennium girl. I took copious notes in
6th grade sex ed. I carry just-in-case condoms in a little
pink pouch in my purse. And, after that first singularly
awkward experience in the back of Todd Hanson's '82 Chevy
after junior prom, I have been meticulously careful. Me. I was
late. And I was not taking it well.
"Dana? (silence) Dana, I need to talk to you. (silence) I
swear to god if you are screening me I am never speaking to
I switched my cell phone to the other hand as I changed lanes,
narrowly avoiding a collision with a pick-up that had "wash
me" carved in week old dust, before continuing my desperate
pleas into my best friend's answering machine.
"Dana, please, please, please pick up? Please?" I paused.
Stony silence. "All right, I guess you really aren't there.
But please, please, please call me back as soon as you get
this message. I mean pronto. This is a serious code red, 911
emergency. I need totalk to you now!" I punctuated this last
word by laying on my horn as a bald guy in a convertible cut
me off, than had the audacity to give me the finger. Welcome
I hit the end button on my flip phone, breaking a French
tipped nail in the process. Which did nothing to lighten my
mood as I'd just had them done at Faux Dad's salon. (Mom's
soon-to-be husband number two was the owner Fernando's, the
chichiest place on Rodeo. I'm still not 110% convinced Faux
Dad is straight, but I love the discounted manicures.)
I merged onto the 10, glancing down at the digital readout on
my dashboard clock, and realized with a twist of irony, that I
was now not only late, but late. As in not on time to meet my
boyfriend, Richard Howe, for lunch. He'd made one o'clock
reservations at Giani's and it was now one thirteen. I eased
my suede ankle boot (which had maxed out my Macy's card, but
was so worth it!) down just a little harder on the
accelerator, after checking the rearview mirror to make sure
the highway patrol was nowhere in sight. Not that I was
speeding. Much. But considering I'd already racked up four six
speeding tickets this year, I wasn't taking any chances. I was
already on a first name basis with nine out of ten of the Los
Angeles County traffic court judges. We didn't need to get any
As I checked for motorcycle cops, I also did a quick makeup
check. Nothing like the stress of being late (in more ways
than one) to run a girl's makeup. Luckily I'd piled on Dior
Ultimate Lash before leaving my apartment this morning and was
still looking relatively presentable. My ash blond hair was
still tucked into a flattering half twist. A few flyaways, but
the messy look was in, right? Lipstick, just slightly smeared.
I pulled out a tube of Raspberry Perfection and applied a thin
swipe across my lips, ignoring the obscene gestures from the
guy behind me. Hey, if a girl in a crisis doesn't have her
lipstick, what does she have?
I'm proud to say I only got flipped off two more times before
pulling my little red Jeep (top up today as a concession to my
hair) into the parking garage on the corner of 7th and Grand.
I fastened The Club securely on my steering wheel and prepared
to hoof it the two blocks to my boyfriend's firm where I was
supposed to meet him ... I looked down at my watch ... damn.
Twenty-two minutes ago. Well, on the up side, as soon as I
told him about being late, I had a feeling he'd forget all
about my being late.
A conversation I was seriously dreading. In my mind it went
something like this: Hi Richard, sorry I'm late, by the way I
may be having your child. Insert cartoon sound of Richard
hitting the door at roadrunner-like speeds. Ugh. There was
just no good way to ease into information like that. We'd only
been dating for a few months. We hadn't even made it to the
shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond stage yet, and suddenly we
had to have this conversation? I adjusted my bra strap as I
walked, tucking it back under my Calvin tank top, trying like
anything to present the appearance of a woman with it all
together. And not a woman trying to remember which pregnancy
test commercial touted early results with digital readouts.
Exactly twenty-four minutes behind schedule, I walked into the
law offices of Dewy, Cheatem and Howe. In reality the firm was
called Donaldson, Chesterton, and Howe. But I couldn't resist
the nickname. Considering the type of clientele they
represented (the Chanel and Rolex crowd) it fit like an
imported, calfskin glove.
Beyond the frosted front doors, the maroon printed carpeting
yawned across the reception area, muffling the sound of my
heels as I made my way to the front desk. It was a large oval
of dark woods, stretching along the back wall of the spacious
room. Flanking the desk were more frosted doors leading to the
conference rooms and offices where clerks were faintly typing
away in the background.
"May I help you?" asked the Barbie doll behind the desk.
Jasmine. Miss PP. As in plastic parts. Jasmine spent two
thirds of her salary every month on cosmetic procedures. This
week her lips were collagen swollen to Angelina Jolie
standards. Last month it was new boobs (double D of course).
Today her bleach blond hair was moussed within an inch of its
life, giving her an extra two inches on her already annoying
height of 5'6". (I'm what could be referred to a petite
person, toping out at an impressive 5'1 1/2" on a good day. I
was lucky if I made the height requirement on half the rides
at Six Flags.)
"I'm here to see Richard," I informed Miss PP.
"Do you have an appointment with Mr. Howe?" Her blue eyes
blinked (with difficulty due to the brow lift two months ago)
in an innocent gesture that I knew was anything but. Jasmine's
sole entertainment here at Dewy, Cheatum and Howe was wielding
the power of entry to the sacred offices beyond the frosted
I narrowed my eyes at her. "Yes. As a matter of fact I do."
"And you are?" Jasmine's helium perky voice was not my
favorite even on a good day, and today it was downright nerve
grating. I knew she'd seen me come to lunch with Richard every
other day since we'd begun dating five months ago. She knew
who I was and by the tiny smile at the corner of her Angelina
lips, she was enjoying this all too much.
"Maddie Springer. His girlfriend. I'm here for a lunch date."
"I'm sorry, Miss Springer, but you'll have to wait. He's with
someone in the conference room right now."
"Fine, I'll just wait in his office."
"I really think it would be better if you waited here."
I narrowed my eyes again. I could see she wasn't going to let
me past without a fight and, in all honesty, I just didn't
have it in me today.
"Fine." Instead I settled back into one of the tan, leather
chairs and picked up a copy of People from the oak side table.
I flipped to an article about Justin Timberlake's newest
fling, but my heart wasn't really in it. I watched as Jasmine
opened a game of solitaire on her computer and pursed her
forehead in concentration.
After what seemed like an eternity of listening to Jasmine's
nails click against the keyboard in agonizing slowness,
Richard came through the frosted doors. Despite the anxiety
building in my stomach, I couldn't help doing a little romance
heroine sigh at the sight of him. Richard is six foot one and
all lean muscle. He is a religious runner, doing 10k's for all
the charities in his spare time. Muscular dystrophy, autism,
even the breast cancer run last April. When we first started
dating he tried to get me to run with him once. Just once. My
idea of a cardio workout is elbowing my way through Nordstrom
during the half-yearly super sale. Running was something I
didn't do. Besides, I figured if the heels were high enough,
walking the two blocks from my apartment to the corner
Starbucks burned almost as many calories as running. Right?
Today Richard's blond hair was perfectly gelled into place in
a casual wave, al la early Robert Redford. He was wearing a
dark gray suit, matched with a white shirt and the Jerry
Garcia designed tie I gave him for Christmas. He looked
downright yummy and I resisted the urge to throw myself into
his arms, unloading all my worries onto the shoulder of his
Another man exited the offices with him, the two of them deep
in conversation. I couldn't make out what they were saying,
but whatever it was had Richard's perfect brow knitted
together in look of concern.
The other guy was dressed in Levis, worn in with faded patches
along the thighs and seat, and a navy blazer over a form
fitting black T-shirt. His shoulders were broad and he had the
sort of firm build that made you instantly think prize
fighter. He had a white scar over his eyebrow, cutting into
his tanned complexion. Dark hair, dark eyes and the sort of
hard look to his face that usually went along with prison
tattoos. I hoped Richard wasn't branching out into criminal
I waited until they shook hands and the other guy had walked
out of the lobby before approaching Richard.
"Hi honey," I said, standing on tiptoe to place a kiss on his
"Hi." He was still staring after the felon, his tone
distracted as if I'd just interrupted him during football
"Who was that?"
The way Richard was still staring after Mr. Nobody led me to
believe that wasn't exactly true. However, I had bigger things
to think about than Richard's latest client. Like being late.
"Huh?" I whirled around, panic rising like bile in my throat.
Good god, could he tell already? Insanely I looked down to my
abdomen as if it might have grown six inches in the last
"We had reservations for one."
Oh. That late.
"Sorry, there was traffic on the 405. We'll just go somewhere
else. How about the Cabo Cantina?"
"Uh, actually, something's come up."
The way he looked after the closed glass door where Mr. Nobody
had just exited, had me again wondering who he was. He didn't
look like Richard's typical clients and he certainly didn't
give off that new car scent of another lawyer.
"I, uh, don't think I'm going to make lunch today after all."
"Oh, that's too bad." Am I a totally bad person that I was
actually a little relieved? At least we didn't have to have
that conversation now. At least now I had a little time to
come up with a better way of dropping the bombshell than,
Richard, we've got to buy stronger condoms. Hmm ... I wonder if I
could sue Trojan over this?
"Sorry, Maddie. I'll call you later, I promise."
"That's okay. I understand. I'll talk to you tonight then."
"Sure. Tonight." He gave me a quick peck on the cheek before
disappearing back through the frosted doors and into the
bowels of Dewy, Cheatum and Howe. Jasmine looked up just long
enough to smirk at me before going back to her amazingly
difficult solitaire game.
Excerpted from Spying in High Heels
by Gemma Halliday
Copyright © 2006 by Gemma Halliday.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Gemma Halliday is the author of the High Heels Mysteries, the Hollywood Headlines Mysteries, and the Deadly Cool series of young adult books. Gemma's books have received numerous awards, including a Golden Heart, a National Reader's Choice award and three RITA nominations. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is hard at work on several new projects.
To learn more about Gemma, visit her online at www.GemmaHalliday.com
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Stumbled over this book when I was purchasing the 3rd book in the Dorothy Howell series (a must read also) - the High Heel Series is definitely worth reading - totally enjoyable and entertaining, you fall in love with the characters and the author keeps you totally engaged in each book!!! I read the first 4 books in 1 week - saving the 5th book to read on the plane to Vegas this week!!!
Maddie Springer is the lead character and she gets into all kinds of funny situations and stumbles across a dead body. Her and her best friend Dana, an actress/fitness trainer, dress up as hookers to investigate, and then they get into all kinds of trouble. This is just the first book in the series and they get better and funnier as you go along.
great book, i laughed the whole time!!!
I like female spy/romance/comedy books, so I bought this for Nook. It's an easy read, but the author has a tendency to ramble. Yes, that's what stream-of-consciousness books tend to do, but this one was just too much. (It didn't help that sometimes large paragraphs were written in parentheses, like so. If something is important enough to dedicate four sentences to, please, don't use parentheses, or your readers will skip it, like I did.) The plot had enough twists and turns to keep me interested, but the main character was awkward and unbelievable at times. And I sure hope the grammatical errors are ebook only, because there are problems in there even an amateur editor could catch. If you want a better female spy/male cop series, try the Spellman series by Lisa Lutz. If you want something silly and easy to read, sure, give this a chance.
I stumbled upon this series by accident and am so glad I did! I read the High Heels series over the summer and it was the perfect summer read!
I really enjoyed this book. I think she writes a little like Sue Grafton. would reccommend this for a good read, its a page turner and keeps you interested.
I absolutely loved this book! I finished this in one day, I just couldnt get myself to put my tablet down! When I did put it down I couldnt wait to get back to it! Cant wait to start the next one!
The first of a really fun and enjoyable series. You must read them all. She and Stephanie Plum must be sisters.
had i actually highlighted alll the spelling errors, tense issues, and grammatical errors nearly every page would have some color. that aside, the story line contained mix of pg-rated romance, drama, and murder mystery. a quick and easy read.
I bought this book because I loved the author's "Scandal Sheet" which was a free Friday book. This is a fun read that had me laughing out loud from beginning to end. I couldn't wait to read the others in the series, so I bought the boxed set. I do not recommend buying these books in that format for the Nook, however. Buy the High Heels books separately!
This writer has a style similar to Janet Evanovich. Very funny and creative. I think I've found another writer for those moments when I need a little light reading.
Good character development - laugh-out-loud books. I wish there were more books in the spying in high heels series. I could totally see these charcters growing into a television show. I read all 5 books in 4 days and would highly recommend Gemma Halliday to anyone looking for a light entertaining read.
In Los Angeles, shoe designer Maddie Springer thinks she might be pregnant when she misses her period, a biological condition that the government could use to set the atomic clock. She goes to her every Friday lunch date with her boyfriend Richard Howe planning to tell him about her concern, but though she is late (a usual occurrence unlike her always on time period) when Maddie arrives at the law office of Dewy, Cheatum, and Howe he tells her he cannot do lunch. A few days later, Maddie is worried about her boyfriend whom she has not heard from since his abrupt end to their lunch. She soon learns that LAPD detective Jack Ramirez suspects Richard embezzled $20 million. She believes he is innocent and sets off with the help of her best friend Dana to prove he is not guilty so he can be there when she takes the rabbit test. As the amateurs investigate and stumble over corpses and clues while destroying crime scenes, their inquiries lead them to believe a blond female has killed two suspects and is trying to murder everyone associated with the embezzlement including two bumbling sleuths. This amateur sleuth chick lit tale runs on full octane even with the heroines prancing around L.A. in stiletto high heels. The amusing story line is fast-paced as Maddie and Dana cause havoc to the killer, the cop, and a bunch of eccentrics who believe the daring duo are crazy weirdoes. No Birkenstock with this duo as Gemma Halliday provides an inane zany but totally fun whodunit, chick lit style. Harriet Klausner
This book was hilariously awesome. Almost every page had something that had me laughing out loud. Sometimes so hard that I was tearing up and getting a bellyache! The pacing was excellent, and the plot was great. The whodunit aspect was done so well that I never figured out who it was until the end. And I just loved the touch of suspense during the climax! The characters were a blast. So funny, all of them. Except Ramirez… he was just plain hawt! I loved Maddie too. Which was kind of surprising because she is somewhat ditzy/flaky. But, in my opinion, it added to the hilarity of the story. I just adored the slapstick humor she brought. Think Lucy Ricardo with Dana (Maddie's BFF) as a loose version of Ethel Mertz. Like I said, the cast is so great in this book, and I can't wait to see them again in the rest of the series. I did have one minor issue with the book… the use of route numbers and unfamiliar road terms was very confusing for me. It seemed like this was written with Californians in mind because I had to look up certain terms also, such as CHP. Which I had no clue what that was until I looked it up online. It would have been better had it just been something like 'south towards Hollywood' or something. I realize some might not be bothered with this issue, but for me it was very annoying and ultimately kept me from tagging the book with a Favorite. Overall, awesome book! I can't wait to read the rest of the series. Highly recommended to fans of cozy mysteries and funny stories.
I enjoyed this fast page turner. The heroine is a shoe designer who gets involved in a mystery concerning her boyfriend/lover. There is a touch of romance but mostly the suspense is the focus. If you like women sleuths, light-hearted mystery with little violence or gore, and shoes, then you will enjoy this book.
I wish all poice men would be like that!!!!!!
Gemma Halliday is a new author for me. I enjoyed this book - it is entertaining and fast-paced - on a recent vacation. I plan to check out other books in this series.
A sponsored mystery so many brands were named. But if by 20% in, I do not care for the lead, the plot plods, and the characters are one-dimensional, it will not get better and I end my pain. I did not even bother to read the end. Maybe this is her first and her other books are better.
This chick is quirky but makes so many dumb choices its hard to root for her. I wanna know what happens with Ramerez but thats about it.
This book is funny and delightful. It can bring a smile to your face while it entertains you.
Very funny book
Maddie is a character and manages to get herself in some dangerous situations. She's funny, irreverent and fun to know. I've already gone on to the 2nd and 3rd book in the series and will start the 4th soon. While Maddie is about the same age as my children, I do, sort of, identify with her. If you are looking for a book with a message this isn't for you. It's strictly fun.
This book was a comical, romantic, & easy read. I highly recommend it!
Loved this book! A fun read. Looking forward to reading more from this author.