Sunday, April 13, 2014


James Harshell and Kerri Benedict are the Party Snoopers, Incorporated--they plan the party (because criminals can never resist a good birthday bash), capture the crook (because the party is just a trap, after all), and collect the dough (what's hard work without a little reward?).  Join them as they tackle on their biggest case yet, involving a wedding, a couple of mischievous ring-bearers, and...rock stars?  **Told in alternating first-person perspectives

Previously on Party Snoopers...

“Don't wake up your parents with your fangirling, but Jakkab and I are going to get married.”  Henrietta's tone is weird.  She sounds happy, except...not so happy.
“I'm going to freak out.”  But to be honest, I'm too tired to.  And besides, Henrietta's voice is really spinning me in circles.  “Is something wrong?”
“You're the detective and the party planner. Yes, something is wrong.”  Henrietta sighs deeply, but it's not melodramatic—it's the kind of sigh that says, I've got something on my mind, and what do I do?
“What is it?”
“You're the detective.”
“I'm not psychic, Ms. HerShe Bar.”
“Don't call me that.”  Henrietta hates her stage name.  Her publicist made it up for her.  “But I got a note.”
So?  Being a weird person, Henrietta has had a ton of mail—and not all of them marriage proposals and rainbows.
“They threatened to take down the wedding.”  
“So?”  Probably a poser.  I've had plenty of those in my lifetime.
“We got engaged literally, like, ten minutes ago.”
“You're the first people I've told.”

Sunday Serial Part Two

“So you're saying we're the first people you told, and somebody knows about it already.” I repeat the words slooooowly, jotting down notes into my Party Snoopers Secret Notebook.
It was Kerri's idea. The Notebook, I mean.
Freshly out of Australia, Henrietta sips her whipped cream mocha. Starbucks had too many shady businesspeople, so Kerri suggested that we meet in her house. “The note arrived literally two seconds after he proposed,” Henrietta says. She has a whipped cream mustache.
“It was a beautiful proposal, if I do say so myself.” Henrietta's fiance, Jakkab Brygle, who's also a rock star, leans back and sighs dreamily. “And we need a beautiful wedding to go with it.” He and Henrietta stare into each other's eyes and have a “moment.” Whatever that thing is. All I care about is that they don't kiss.
Kerris is grinning like a Cheshire cat. “We'll plan an amazing wedding. Won't we, James?”
She elbows me. After telling the weirdness piling up in my stomach to go away, I say, “Absolutely gorgeous.” Sarcasm. I'm planning on leaving all the aesthetic work to Kerri, and I'll take the snooping part. It's more of my thing than it is hers.
“So, what kind of theme would you like?” Kerri leans forward with her Party Planning Notebook (also her idea). “Rock-star-ish? Invite all your celebrity friends? Call MTV and perform a post-wedding show?”
Henrietta wrinkles her nose. “I wanted to do a dainty, tea-party wedding.”
Kerri's pen hovers in midair. “A tea party?” she echoes.
“A tea party.” Henrietta puts on her stern face, but it's kind of hard to pull that one off when you have a dried whipped cream mustache. “A nice change.”
“Yes, it would be a nice change.” I bet Jakkab doesn't even know what he's saying. No rock star in his right mind wants a tea party wedding.
I hope I never fall in love if it means that I'm going to have a tea party wedding.
“Okay. Are you sure...?” Kerri's still hesitant.
I roll my eyes. “Kerri, if she wants a tea party, then give her a tea party.”
“Not too tea party, though. We need to appease Serrah.” Henrietta frowns. Her publicist is pushy and often has her feelings hurt. Women. “She wasn't very happy when she learned that Jakkab and I were going to get married. She thought we needed one more breakup to stabilize our image together.”
“Getting married would stabilize your image together. I mean, it's marriage!” Duh.
People confuse me sometimes.
“I know marriage is more stabilizing than a breakup, but you know how Serrah is.” Henrietta smiles at me, then turns to Kerri, her “business face” back on. “Did you get that all down, Kerri?”
“You mean, the part that you wanted a tea party but not too much of a tea party?” Kerri sips her tea, which smells utterly disgusting. “Yup, I got it all down.”
“Good.” Henrietta smiles again. She has lipstick on her teeth. “That should do for today. We have plenty of time—the wedding isn't for two weeks.”
Kerri spews her tea all over my hair. “The wedding's going to be in two weeks?” she blurts out.
“You are the grossest partner I have ever had to work with.” I smell my shirt, which is flecked with Kerri's saliva, tea, and who knows what else. Doesn't she know that the mouth is the dirtiest organ in the body? “And Henrietta, the wedding can't be in two weeks.”
“Why not?” Henrietta demands.
“Because it takes, like, six months to plan a wedding?” Kerri has this annoying habit of talking in questions. “And we need to, like, secure a venue? And find a caterer? And flowers? And you can't find those in two weeks?”
“Can't you just slap together some sandwiches and make some tea?” Henrietta gives my shirt a once-over. “Granted you don't spit it all out.”
“Henrietta, even though I'm on spring break, I have homework.” Kerri gives me a sideways glance, and I smirk in her direction. I saved her life by pointing out that miserable Distance Formula the other night.
“And I have a tour. In three weeks. So I was thinking I could get married in two and have a honeymoon for the week after that.” Henrietta leans back and crosses her arms. Jakkab puts his arm around her shoulders, and they have another moment.
Kerri takes the opportunity to hiss at me. A little help here?”
“What, was I supposed to help you?” I hiss back at her. “I thought I was just taking care of the snooping part. Not the party.”
She cocks her head. “I'm sorry, I don't remember ever discussing that with you. Just because I'm possessed with a better sense of style doesn't mean I leave you in the dust completely, bonko.”
“Shut up.” Kerri turns back to Henrietta. “Henrietta, can't you have your wedding after you come back from tour?”
“So you want Jakkab and me to break up again? Because that's what Serrah's going to make us do while we're apart.” Henrietta laserbeams Kerri with her eyes. Really, why do rock stars have to wear so much of that black stuff? It makes them look like Egyptians.
I can see Kerri contemplating life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. “Fine,” she says, whooshing out a sigh. “But if you have a terrible wedding, remember it's your own fault!”
“You sound like my mother.” Henrietta chuckles and looks at Jakkab. “Isn't she adorable, Jakkab?”
“Not as adorable as you!”
Gag me now.

“Seriously? Two weeks?” Kerri stares at the calendar on her bedroom wall. Henrietta and Jakkab have left, after deciding that they want ham and egg salad sandwiches, Earl Grey and green tea, and that they wanted to get married at Jakkab's private beach in Florida.
We live in California.
“What I'm wondering is how you're going to make all the sandwiches and fly them to Florida. Do you think that's legal?” I stare at Kerri's handwriting in the notebook. It's curvy and light—very pretty writing.
I feel her eyes on the back of my head. “James, you are so clueless. We'll fly there, then make the sandwiches. Obviously.”
Oh. “So do we have any leads on the case?” That's kind of my area of expertise.
“The case!” Kerri claps her hand to her mouth. “Oh my gosh, I totally forgot. We should have taken the note from Henrietta!”
“We can ask her to scan it to us.” I whip out my phone and tap out a text.
“Maybe it's somebody with psychic powers who's looking through the window this instant.” Kerri gasps and rushes to close the blinds.
“You're illogical.” But I let her. With crazy criminals, it's hard to know.
Henrietta texts back. SENDING IT.
A moment later, Kerri's computer beeps, and we rush over to examine the note.
It takes a while to load, but when it finally does, Kerri uploads it to her photo editing program and zooms in.
Stop the Wedding.
Or Else.
It's in generic boxy writing that could belong to anyone. But it's the picture that sends chills down my spine.
Two stick figures are drawn underneath the letters, one with Henrietta's beehive and the other with Jakkab's Mohawk. A big, bold red X has been drawn through both of them.

Who would do this?
And why?

Come back next week for more!

Toodles, folks :-D

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