GILLIAN B. FARRELL – Alibi for an Actress. Annie McGrogan #1, Pocket, hardcover, 1992; paperback, 1993.

   I recently read a clipping about Ms. Farrell and her first book, and both sounded interesting, so when I came across it in the library I checked it out. I’m not at all sorry I did.

   Annie McGrogan is a serious actress, come to New York from Los Angeles after a love affair and painful divorce, determined to be as successful in the Big Apple as she was in LA. It hasn’t worked out that way, though, and she is down to the bottom of her purse when she sees an ad for a job with a private detective agency. She answers, is hired (though not on the spot), and we’re off.

   Except for her, the agency is comprised of ex-NYC cops, and it’s a brand new world to Annie. Her first assignment is to assist in baby-sitting a famous soap opera star, and she finds out later that the star’s husband has been murdered that same night The agency becomes involved in the murder case, and Annie gets her baptism of fire.

   I liked it. It had a feature that usually turns me off — unrealistic cops and relations therewith — but I liked the characters and writing enough to grit my teeth and get past it. Annie as portrayed by Farrell is a real human being, and a very likeable one. I don’t know how realistic the rest of the characters were, but they were interesting, and I enjoyed reading about them.

   One thing to note: you know how Susan Conant’s books are so doggy that you need to be dipped for fleas when you’ve finished one? Well, you’re in for a similar excursion here into the world of acting, and you may need a rag for the greasepaint. It comes off easy, though.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #6, March 1993.

Bibliographic Notes:   Gillian B. Farrell was the joint pen name of Gillian Murphy Beinhart and Larry Beinhart, the latter having four crime novels to his credit under his own name. There was only one additional adventure for Annie McGrogan, that being Murder and a Muse (Pocket, 1994).