Maddie is late. Not the late late but the late! late. You get it, right? Yeah, she is 3 days late for her monthly friend that she has been meeting since she entered her teenage and now she is shit scared about it. She leaves 3 messages on her over-sexed friend Dana’s answering machine, who didn’t respond just because she wasn’t alone and……let’s just say, she was a bit busy!
Maddie is anxious and restless and is desperately in search of a way to convey the same to her self-conscious and cleanliness-freak boyfriend, Richard, a lawyer by profession. She is late, no not that late but the late late, to the lunch date with him and is completely dreading the conversation she is about to have. But before she could say anything to him, he cancels the lunch date and promises to call her later. Needless to say, the call never comes.
After waiting for a couple of days and leaving about a dozen messages on his answering machine, she goes to his office to know about him and realises that she isn’t the only one looking for him. A detective Ramirez is also in the hunt for him and that Richard is wanted for questioning in a fraud of 20 million dollars. 2 murders later, Richard is no longer just a suspect but a warrant is already issued against him.
Maddie doesn’t believe that her Richard can commit murder and she needs to find Richard before Ramirez finds him if she wants to prove his innocence. Thus, she puts her freelance kiddie shoe designer job on hold and turns an investigator. The only trouble is, she is not only amateur but also dumb. She lands herself in troubles, gets shot at, punched, house ransacked and hit on her head, all because of her stupidity and technically finds no clue at all.
Ramirez develops a soft-corner for Maddie and although she keeps following him and acts stupidly, he takes care of her. Soon Maddie gets attracted to Ramirez and at one point, when they are in the middle of a passionate making-out session at Maddie’s place, Ramirez looks at the pregnancy test and stops in between. When he learns that the father of the potential child is Richard, she realizes that she is also in the list of suspects now and he is no more the friendly cop now.
The rest of the story is about how they, Maddie and Ramirez, find out clues and the whereabouts of Richard; why were the murders committed and who committed them.
The book, Spying in High Heels, is written in first person and Maddie is the narrator and she hates almost every other male she encounters. She considers them misogynists for advising her to ‘leave the dirty work to the big boys with guns’.
All those cliches about blondes and women are proved true here by the author herself.
Maddie is dumb. Really dumb. And stupid. And the author has actually makes her look stupider with every new instance. Except for the last clue, where she finds out the killer – which is again by chance more than because of her sleuthing abilities – she is more of a person going after the wrong leads and being at all the wrong places at the wrong times.
As Ramirez once says, “You’re more like a fregadita.” And yes, that is what she becomes to you, as a reader, more or less, a fregadita.
At one point, she blames Richard, who has been missing for at least 2 weeks, for all the problems in her life. All her problems. Like being late for her target at job, for coffee shops not being open, for lack of chocolate and what not. Technically, he was responsible only for her pregnancy which, by the way, was not confirmed either.
Maddie just needs a chance to cry and she starts crying at the earliest. Or blabbering incoherently. Total fregadita stuff!
The language is simple and not what one expects from an author who has received so many awards that are mentioned on her website. Also, some of the sentences/phrases are often repetitive and trite and which sometimes get on your nerves as a reader.
The real story could have sufficed in just 100-125 pages. Gemma Halliday keeps explaining about the surroundings, about how Maddie feels or thinks and writes about so many unnecessary things that eat up the space and the total page count heads to about 250.
The set up is hilarious. Really hilarious. You keep chuckling every now and then and often, Gemma Halliday gives some amazing wisecracks about life, work, people in L.A., through Maddie.
Over-all, a light and funny read. Don’t expect Nancy Drew like sleuthing skills in Maddie and you won’t get disappointed. Total chick-lit and at the expense of sounding a misogynist, probably, the guys (males) shoud stay away from this book. It may get on their nerves.