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Authors: G.T. Herren

Tags: #Mystery: Cozy - Reporter - Humor - New Orleans

G.T. Herren - Paige Tourneur 02 - Dead Housewives of New Orleans

BOOK: G.T. Herren - Paige Tourneur 02 - Dead Housewives of New Orleans
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G.T. Herren - Paige Tourneur 02 - Dead Housewives of New Orleans
Paige Tourneur [2]
G.T. Herren
booksBnimble (2013)
Mystery: Cozy - Reporter - Humor - New Orleans
Mystery: Cozy - Reporter - Humor - New Orleansttt

Someone’s killing the newly minted stars of GRANDES DAMES Of NEW ORLEANS—and reporter and smart-mouthed female sleuth Paige Tourneur’s on the story. They’re literally dropping like flies—a great story for Paige except that someone’s gunning for her, too—someone tied to her extremely checkered past. Someone knows way too much about things she hasn’t yet told Ryan, the Perfect Man.

Praise for
Fashion Victim
, the first “episode” in the Paige Tourneur Missing Husband series:

“A delicious, witty, deftly plotted mystery, G.T. Herren’s Fashion Victim offers up a compulsively readable tale.”

—Megan Abbott, Edgar-winning author of
Dare Me

“Witty, scandalous and dark-edged, Fashion Victim is a sparkling read.”

—Lauren Henderson, author of the Tart Noir series.

“Set against the dark and vibrant backdrop of wondrous New Orleans, Herren’s wit and ingenuity make his mysteries a constant pleasure.”

—Alex Marwood,
The Wicked Girls

“Fashion Victim is a witty, engrossing slice of New Orleans life (and death). When a reporter sets out to profile a murdered designer, she must work around the post-Katrina reality of lost records and missing persons. Lucky for the reader, this means piecing together delicious bits of gossip and hints of hushed-up scandal. Wry observations about old money in the new New Orleans add extra sparkle to a plot full of lively characters and satisfying twists.”

—Lia Matera, author of the Willa Jansson and Laura Di Palma series


Dead Housewives of New Orleans

The Paige Tourneur Missing Husband Series

By G. T. Herren


booksBnimble Publishing
New Orleans, La.

Dead Housewives of New Orleans

Copyright 2013 by Greg Herren

Cover by Andy Brown

ISBN: 9781625171429

All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

First booksBnimble Publishing electronic publication: May 2013


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten




If You Enjoyed This Book…

Other Books by G.T. (writing as Greg) Herren

A Respectful Request

About the Author

Chapter One

It was cold and wet the night Fidelis Vandiver died.

An unseasonable cold front had swept down from Canada, bringing a late snow to the Midwest as a late and particularly cruel April Fool’s joke. New Orleans had enjoyed a milder winter than usual, so when the front moved in and collided with the warm humid air from the Gulf, the temperature plunged, the sky turned gray, and intermittent rain fell for several days. The gloom from the gray and black clouds was almost as depressing as having to attend the official world premiere of Episode 1, Season 1 of
The Grande Dames of New Orleans,
the latest franchise of an enormously successful basic cable reality series whose appeal mystified me completely. The shows, which began as basically a rip-off of a hugely successful prime time soap starring actresses too old to play love interests for men two or three times their age and too young to play grandmothers, had spread to many different locations after the mysterious success of the first show,
Grande Dames of Marin County.
Chicago, Manhattan, Baltimore, and Houston had all proven to be fertile ground for the shows. The formula really was the same, no matter which city served as the setting: women with money who had never progressed emotionally and intellectually beyond junior high school with too much time on their hands and way too much access to a plastic surgeon.

Narcissism and borderline personality disorders were also apparently a plus in getting ‘cast.’

A previous attempt to launch a franchise in New Orleans had failed spectacularly when the producers couldn’t find enough women interested in being on the show. The network had been getting complaints about racism and the lily-whiteness of its casts; even the Houston show was all white women with nary a Latina in sight. The producers’ plan had been to make the New Orleans show the ‘black’ one; but they couldn’t find enough women of color with the requisite narcissism and mental problems to air their dirty laundry for the cameras. The New Orleans show plans were scrapped, and they’d moved on to Baltimore, where they’d had great success finding women of color to film— and the Baltimore show was wildly popular.

A year later, they’d come back to New Orleans to try again— but this time they weren’t as interested in proving their commitment to diversity. The New Orleans cast wound up being all white.

They’d actually approached my boss at
Crescent City
magazine, Rachel Delesdernier Sheehan. That was how I found out they were trying again. On paper, she looked perfect for the show— she was forty but looked much younger, she kept herself in excellent shape, and not only was she from an old New Orleans political dynasty, but she had married into yet another one. When Rachel declined (a lot more politely than I would have), they actually asked her if she knew of anyone who
be interested. She called me into the office after she got off the phone with them, and we had a really good laugh about the entire idea of Rachel being a ‘grande dame of New Orleans.’

“For Christ’s sake, I live in Old Metairie,” she’d said, which sent us off into even more paroxysms of laughter.

But less than a week later, they officially announced the cast— and started filming.

I’d actually met all six of the women who’d decided to whore themselves out for notoriety and money. (Some of the women on other franchises had seen their businesses skyrocket through the roof). But I didn’t know them well— only well enough to nod and say hello and make meaningless small talk at a party while waiting at the bar.

No one had high hopes for the show— television programs rarely captured the city properly, and no one had either forgotten or forgiven the two seasons of MTV’s
The Real World
that had filmed here.

The last place in the world I wanted to be that Friday night was at the world premiere of the show.

I had enlisted my best friend Chanse as my date, since it was my regular guy’s weekend with his kids on the North Shore. The plan was for me to drive over there early on Saturday morning and spend the rest of the weekend with them before heading back to New Orleans Monday morning. My neighbors would feed my cat, and I was already packed and ready to go. I hated having to delay my trip across the lake until the next morning, but decided to look at the situation in a positive light— Chanse and I didn’t get to spend much time together since we’d both somehow managed to wind up with steady guys at the same time for once. He’d always been my go-to guy the many years I was single and needed a date— there’s nothing quite like showing up on the arm of a six-foot-four gay former LSU football player. Chanse was a few years younger than me and pretty good-looking, with a big, solid muscular body. He’d recently started wearing his thinning dirty blond hair in a buzz cut that gave him a kind of sexy military look. His big gray eyes, strong cheekbones, and sturdy jaw were accentuated by the new haircut. And while he practically lives in jeans or sweats, he does manage to clean up pretty well.

The premiere was at the Joy Theater on Canal Street, an old vintage theater that had been falling to pieces before Hurricane Katrina and was flood-damaged when the levees failed. I hadn’t been inside since its multi-million dollar overhaul and renovation were finished just before Christmas, so I was curious to see how it looked. Chanse only lived a few blocks from me, so had walked over, and we’d smoked a joint before calling a cab. Parking around the Joy Theater was always a nightmare, and now Loyola Avenue was being torn up so a streetcar line could be put back in. As it was, the cab driver dropped us off about a block away because the traffic was so heavy. It wasn’t raining, but the air was thick and cold and heavy with moisture, and black and gray storm clouds were threatening to erupt into a heavy downpour at any moment. Both Canal Street and Loyola Avenue were clogged with cars as I hurried along, trying to keep up with Chanse’s incredibly long legs. He was wearing a black wool sports-jacket and a blood red dress shirt over dark blue jeans that clung tightly to his thickly-muscled legs and rather impressive ass.

“I’m wearing heels,” I snapped finally, and he slowed down, giving me his trademark lazy grin.

“Sorry, I always forget you’re a munchkin,” he said.

I bit back a sharp retort about human growth hormone and steroids. He is really quite huge. He’s bigger than he was when were in college, when the game programs listed him at two hundred and twenty pounds. I reminded myself he was doing me a favor and I could put up with a little snark.

Besides, I had a serious case of cotton-mouth from the joint.

There was a small crowd of people milling about the front of the theater, smoking cigarettes and murmuring, as I gave our names to an unsmiling young woman with cat’s-eye glasses with rhinestones in the corners, skintight leopard print leggings, and a massively baggy black T-shirt with GRANDE DAMES OF NEW ORLEANS in gold lettering on the front. “Right, then,” she said in a British accent, “Go on in, then. There’re bars and food tables set up both in the lobby and upstairs in the balcony. Enjoy the show.”

Chanse’s face lit up, and I warned myself to watch my wine consumption.
You’re here representing the magazine,
I reminded myself,
so you have to behave.

Sometimes it sucked being the editor of a popular glossy magazine.

I had actually only been inside the Joy Theater once before. A million years ago, when I was an undergrad at LSU, the Halloween New Orleans fundraising weekend for Project Lazarus had thrown their Friday night dance party there. The beauty of the old theater had been apparent then despite its decay. The renovation had worked wonders. It had been 30’s style Art Deco before, and they’d kept as much of the original style as they could, yet added a modernistic flair. The color scheme was red, black, and white, and it looked very classy and elegant. Chanse let out a low whistle as we pushed our way through the mob scene in front of the concession stand. “Nice,” he said. “Pinot?”

“Sure.” I replied, moving away from the crowd to a secluded corner. He dove into the crowd, and I leaned back against the wall.


I turned and smiled at Fidelis Vandiver. “Hello, Fidelis. You must be so excited.”

“I’m a bundle of nerves.” She replied, giving me an air-kiss. Her short brown hair was brushed back away from her face in wings. The tightness of her skin and the odd shape to her eyes was a dead giveaway that she’d had some work done recently. She was much taller than me, and was wearing a short black cocktail dress and a pair of silver Jimmy Choo pumps that showed off her long, muscular legs.

Fidelis had been the local weather girl on one of the local affiliates for three years, right out of journalism school. I didn’t live in New Orleans then, but had heard she’d been terrible— absolutely no warmth and completely wooden. The story was, she’d earned the job by ‘dating’ the very much married producer. Fidelis ‘retired’ when she married a heart surgeon who worked out of Ochsner, but didn’t stay out of the public eye for very long. Within two years she had opened several fitness center franchises around town, and somehow managed to land her own fitness program on one of the local channels—
Fitness with Fidelis
, featuring her healthy eating tips, a workout routine, and other advice for healthier living. The show had been on forever— but it was getting harder and harder to take fitness advice from a woman whose face was frozen with Botox and who had clearly had her breasts done. Her marriage didn’t last, either. There were rumors around town that Fidelis was dating a very married member of the Saints coaching staff. But a lot of rumors had been making the rounds about the women on the show. I’d heard another one that she’d joined the show in hopes of taking her fitness program national, or to promote exercise DVDs she was producing and starring in, or a book about fitness she was writing.

I’d met Fidelis at a charity fundraiser several years ago at my steady guy’s mother’s home in Uptown, and we’d hit it off immediately. She had a rather earthy sense of humor and wasn’t afraid to let a swear word fly every so often. I wouldn’t exactly call her a friend, but I did enjoy her company whenever I ran into her.

BOOK: G.T. Herren - Paige Tourneur 02 - Dead Housewives of New Orleans
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