The Director’s Cut

The Aurelia docked in Los Angeles just long enough to pick up a film crew, but Patricia Fisher is already missing her bibulous friend, Lady Mary, as she and Jermaine, her devoted butler, watch superstar Tarquin Trebeck in action on deck. He dodges bullets and bombs while filming a scene with their friend Barbie, the gym instructor who’s helped Patricia transform her body and spirit. She’s picked up a small role in his latest film because the actress hired for the role broke her ankle when she slipped poolside after having a few too many glasses of champagne.

At dinner that night, the film’s producer, Ian Kenyon, makes a rude remark about Barbie, which results in Tarquin exacting humiliating revenge. Kenyon vows ruin, so when Trebeck is found floating in the very pool he was dashing around earlier, his throat slit, the producer is the natural suspect. A gnome-like film crew member, Shane Sussman, insists Kenyon is the killer and drags Patricia into another amateur investigation.

However, Mr. Ikari, the deputy captain and security head, clears Kenyon of suspicion, which enrages Sussman and baffles Patricia and Jermaine. The latter have their hands full helping Barbie, though, as her gym locker was booby-trapped with a knife and her photo in the gym smeared with a threat in red paint, all while she’s mourning the loss of her co-star.

While Barbie stays in Patricia’s suite for her safety, along with a pair of bodyguards—Lieutenants Pippin, an eager young officer barely out of his teens and Charpentier, a boorish former French Foreign Legionnaire — Patricia continues investigating Trebeck’s murder, relentlessly pushed by Shane, who’s unable to let go of his belief in Kenyon’s guilt, even when Patricia and Jermaine learn the top-secret reason he’s not a suspect. Despite Barbie’s bodyguards, life for the trio grows more dangerous until Patricia and Jermaine accidentally discover the source.

The world-traveling amateur sleuth’s third adventure is her most exciting so far, with fast-paced cinematic thrills, intriguing drop-ins by the captain, and a momentary hint of the future. Steve Higgs has produced yet another superb adventure for Patricia, Jermaine, and Barbie aboard the Aurelia.

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