Paige Tourneur is a heroine you can get behind. She’s smart with a few rough edges to make her interesting in her solo debut, Fashion Victimby GT Herren. Even better, she has a dark past that Herren promises will play out in a series of dark comedic whodunits set in New Orleans. As a fan of cozy mysteries, I’m loving this new generation of heroines who are savvy and may appear to be tough, but inside they have a core of integrity that can’t be broken. The misdeeds are dark and gritty. The supporting characters keep Paige embroiled in uncovering secrets. My only complaint was that the bad guy reveal was over so fast that I didn’t feel Paige was in any real jeopardy. But I’m hooked and can’t wait for the second book. I may just need to read Herren’s backlist of mysteries with PI Chanse McLeod that first introduced Paige in a supporting role.
Fashion shows are not my thing, as a rule. But this had been Marigny Mercereau’s first show in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, and my boss decided this was a big enough deal to warrant putting Marigny on the cover. She was getting the full treatment—coverage of the runway show, a cover shoot, and an in-depth interview. I wasn’t convinced she deserved it, frankly. Don’t get me wrong—I knew it was agood thing that the House of Mercereau was open for business again. Any business coming back since Katrina was terrific, a sign that things were getting back to normal—whatever that meant in New Orleans.
But a cover storyon a business whose primary clientele was rich w omen, drag queens, and high school girls in the market for a prom dress?
I pointed out to my boss this was hardly a newsworthy enough story in our post-Katrina world to warrant such coverage—even if Marigny was a huge advertiser, which she never had been and was unlikely to become. Since I’d gone to work at Crescent City we’d moved away from being a fluff magazine about the city to doing more in-depth investigative pieces—because as a monthly, we could do the kind of in-depth reporting the city’s daily and weekly papers couldn’t, and we were doing quite well with this kind of hard-hitting journalism.
I didn’t understand the return to fluff, but gave in with good grace.
Choosing your battles wisely is becoming a lost art.
I didn’t even bat an eye when the interview was assigned to me—at Marigny’s request. I knew her—I’d dated one of her sons briefly in the pre-Katrina world, and for some reason Marigny liked me. She seemed rather pretentious to me, and her sense of humor was odd…and it’s not like I was really into the entire fashion scene. But before I had a chance to say okay, my boss gave me the whole ‘team player’ speech.
Obviously, she was expecting me to pitch a fit of some sort.
But I loved working at Crescent City, and I really liked my boss. It was a great job, and a huge improvement over working at the city’s daily paper—and besides, there was that whole choose your battles wisely thing. I figured I could use the good will I’d earn doing the Marigny Mercereau interview to my advantage later. We’d scheduled the interview for later this afternoon—so I really needed to pull it together. Marigny had also sent me tickets to her fashion show last night—enclosing them in a card with the note so looking forward to seeing you again, xoxoxoxoxo Marigny—in what she called her ‘trademark’ pink ink.
After all, nothing screams ‘professional’ like pink ink, right?
Greg Herren is a New Orleans-based author and editor. Former editor of Lambda Book Report, he is also a co-founder of the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, which takes place in New Orleans every May. He is the author of ten novels, including the Lambda Literary Award winning Murder in the Rue Chartres, called by the New Orleans Times-Picayune “the most honest depiction of life in post-Katrina New Orleans published thus far.” He co-edited Love, Bourbon Street: Reflections on New Orleans, which also won the Lambda Literary Award. He has published over fifty short stories in markets as varied as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine to the critically acclaimed anthology New Orleans Noir to various websites, literary magazines, and anthologies.