This is the second in the Bebe Bollinger series by Christoph Fischer. The is sleuth is once again the charming, talented and a bit snarky Bebe Bollinger, an early 60s chanteuse with a remarkable career behind her but fighting to be back in the spotlight.
It is quite a change up from the first book, the author having chosen the setting to be Eurovision, the longest-running annual international TV song competition, held in a different country each year. I have to admit I didn’t even know Eurovision existed until I started to read this book, but I learned a lot.
Bebe is colorful, intelligent and one of my favorite characters. When her friend Bonnie Tyler (think Holding Out for a Hero and Angel of the Morning) is chosen to represent the UK at Eurovision, Bebe jealously watches the pre-publicity trail for Eurovision in Malmö and discovers a string of odd accidents happening to several participants in the competition. This triggers her detective antennae and she decides to attend the event. Going there also allows her to assess the suitability of a Eurovision appearance for her own career.
The author does an incredible job describing Eurovision, with its countries’ representatives, both new and seasoned, the outrageous costumes, lighting, and most of all the crowds and the carnival atmosphere. I know he’s been to one or two!
We again meet Beth, now a former police detective with a drinking problem who does legwork for Bebe when she is otherwise occupied, and Bebe’s grasping and selfish daughter Helen, who shows up at the festival and promises to ruin Bebe’s renewed and growing reputation. Bebe somehow gets herself into the middle of the action, singing a version of one of Bonnie’s songs on stage with another vocalist and being asked to judge the competition, as well as be a presenter on the day of the event. While her status grows, contestants continue to fall until it becomes clear that what Bebe suspected all along: these are no accidents.
Bebe deals patiently and with aplomb with nasty TV reporters and career climbing presenters, but ultimately begins to think she may be the next target. I honestly did not know who dunnit or why until the very end.
For fans of Bebe Bollinger, mysteries with a colorful and detailed setting, followers of Eurovision, or women of a certain age (like me), this is the book for you! I anxiously await the next book to find out what happens with Bebe’s career.
About the author
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, but moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small town in West Wales. He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.
Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. He is a prolific writer: The Luck of The Weissensteiners was published in 2012; Sebastia‘ in 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn also 2013 completing his Three Nations Trilogy. He then published two contemporary novels Time to Let Go and Conditions in 2014. The sequel Conditioned was published in 2015, along with a medical thriller The Healer. Two more historical novels, In Search of a Revolution and Ludwika came out in December 2015.
You can find Christoph in many places:
Twitter: @CFFBooks, @WriterCFischer