Excerpt from This Dame For Hire by Sandra Scoppettone, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

This Dame For Hire

by Sandra Scoppettone

This Dame For Hire by Sandra Scoppettone X
This Dame For Hire by Sandra Scoppettone
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2005, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2006, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Yeah, I'll take it," I said. "But starting this late after the murder will make it harder."

"Well, the police haven't done anything," Mrs. West said. Her voice was shrill.

I knew the coppers had probably done plenty. Still, this was what people who were connected to unsolved murders believed. I didn't say this to Mrs. West. I nodded in a way I hoped would give her the idea that I agreed with her and was sympathetic, which I was.

"You have to understand that chances are slim that I'll find the killer."

West said, "We have no other choice."

"Well, my fee is—"

"We don't care what the fee is."

He was a lawyer with an important firm, and the Wests were in clover.

"I have to tell ya anyway."

When that was settled, West gave me a picture of his dead daughter, a folder that included a history of Claudette West's short life, and all the newspaper clippings about the case. The murder, as I well knew, had taken place four months before.

"You don't have police reports, do ya?"

He snorted. "What do you think?"

"They wouldn't give us anything," she said.

"Not even the names of possible suspects?" I asked.

"There was only one. Her ex-boyfriend, Richard Cotten." She wrinkled her small nose like she was smelling Limburger.

"He was never charged," West said.

"But he was a suspect?" I knew he was.

"For a time."

"I guess neither of ya liked him much." I stubbed out my butt in the overflowing glass ashtray.

"Liked him? Cotten is a despicable bastard," he said.

"Tell me why ya say that?"

"He didn't love her. He was only interested in her money."

I'd heard this before, but mostly from wives hiring me to follow husbands they think are stepping out on them.

Mrs. West said, "He was from a poor family and was raised by a working mother. Not that there's anything wrong with a mother working, but she was never there and Richard ran wild."

I could tell Myrna West didn't think a mother should work no matter what.

"Father?"

"Shot in a bar fight when Cotten was four," West said.

"Richard is a very angry person."

"Did he hit your daughter?"

He said, "Oh, no. But he showed it in other ways."

"How?"

"It was the way he talked to her. He always acted as if she was dumb, said hurtful things. That's what we observed the three or four times we saw them together."

"Claudette would have told us if he'd hurt her physically," Myrna said.

I wasn't sure that was true.

"You ever talk to her about the things he said to her?"

"Yes. She said that it was just his way." West shook his head in disgust.

"You said ex-boyfriend. How long before the murder had they split up?"

"Only a few weeks."

"Do you have a picture of him?" I'd seen his picture in the paper, but I hadn't kept it.

Excerpted from This Dame for Hire by Sandra Scoppettone Copyright © 2005 by Sandra Scoppettone. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.