Summary and book reviews of This Dame For Hire by Sandra Scoppettone

This Dame For Hire

By Sandra Scoppettone

This Dame For Hire
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  • Hardcover: Jul 2005,
    272 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2006,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

"I didn't start out to be a private eye. I thought I was gonna be a secretary–get my boss his java in the morning, take letters, and so on. Hell, I didn't get my degree in steno to put my life on the line. It was true I wanted an interesting job, but that I'd end up a PI myself . . . it never entered my mind."

New York, 1943. Almost anything in pants has gone to serve Uncle Sam in the war–including Woody Mason, the head of a detective agency in midtown Manhattan. Left to run the show is his secretary, Faye Quick, who signed on to be a steno, not a shamus. At twenty-six and five foot four, there's not much to Faye, but she's got moxie–which she'll need when she stumbles over a dead girl in the street and takes on her first murder case.

This victim wasn't any ordinary girl. Claudette West was a student at NYU and the daughter of a Park Avenue family. Faye, who lives in bohemian Greenwich Village–where no one cares how you look–ventures uptown, where people care enough about money to kill for it. Claudette's father is convinced greed was the motive, and that Claudette's working-class boyfriend, Richard Cotten, killed the girl because she threw him off the gravy train.

Faye, however, isn't so sure, not when she learns about all the other men Claudette was secretly seeing–from her lecherous literature professor to an apparent con artist. For Faye, there are more shocking surprises in store than turns and dips in the Coney Island Cyclone.

Going after the bad guys and fighting a good fight on the home front, Faye is as scrappy and endearing as any character Sandra Scoppettone has ever created, and This Dame for Hire's period setting is rendered so real you can hear the big band music, see the nylons and fedoras, and feel the rumble of the Third Avenue El. When it comes to an irresistible detective and a riveting new series, you must remember this: Here's looking at Faye Quick.

I didn't start out to be a private eye. I thought I was gonna be a secretary—get my boss his java in the morning, take letters, and so on. Hell, I didn't get my degree in steno to put my life on the line. It was true I wanted an interesting job, but that I'd end up a PI myself . . . it never entered my mind.

Back in 1940 when I went for my interview, one look at Woody Mason and I thought for sure it was gonna be a bust.

There he was, brogans up on the wobbly wooden table he called his desk, wearing dark cheaters in the middle of the day, his trilby pulled down so low on his head it was a week before I knew he had straw-blond hair. A butt hung from his thin lips, smoke curled up past his rosy nose. I wondered if he was a boozehound.

"I'm Faye Quick," I said.

"Good for you."

"Mr. Mason...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. An original idea - a female PI working on her own in 1943 - and an unusually imaginative portrait of a New York City coping, surviving, even thriving during WWII lift the first of a new suspense series from Scoppettone.

Booklist - Frank Sennet

Although many readers will finger the culprit before Faye does, Scoppettone delivers a satisfying plot about love gone wrong and a large cast of engaging characters. And it's hard to dislike a book that ends with a playful "Hubba--hubba!

Author Blurb Laurie King
All the synonyms for quick-snappy, brisk, witty, smart-apply to Sandra Scoppettone's new character Faye Quick. This dame's as likable a New Yorker as you're apt to find outside da Bronx.

Author Blurb S. J. ROZAN
What a voice This Dame has! It's 1943, and the world-weary gumshoe has gone off to war, turning the detective agency over to his gum-snapping, wisecracking secretary. Think Joan Blondell, PI, and you've got the picture. New York is here in all its noir glory, from fancy uptown digs to bohemian Greenwich Village. I hope to see a lot more of Faye Quick - she's irresistible!

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Beyond the Book

Sandra Scoppettone is the author of at least 20 novels, including 5 for young adults, the remainder being crime novels for adults. She lives on the North Fork of Long Island. Too Darn Hot, a follow up to This Dame For Hire, was published in hardcover last week. She keeps an active blog at Blogspot.

It's ironic that the reviewer for Booklist should comment that "many readers will finger the culprit before Faye does" because Scoppettone herself doesn't know who "the perp" will ...

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