Read Death in Daytime Online

Authors: Eileen Davidson

Tags: #Actresses, #Mystery & Detective, #Screenwriters, #Fiction, #Soap Operas, #Women Sleuths, #Television Actors and Actresses, #General, #Peterson; Alexis (Fictitious Character)

Death in Daytime

BOOK: Death in Daytime
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Eileen Davidson

Death

in

Daytime

A SOAP OPERA MYSTERY

AN OBSIDIAN MYSTERY

Praise for
Death in Daytime

"A fun read. Eileen's many years as a daytime television star add verisimilitude to her novel's soap opera backdrop, as her heroine struggles to clear her name while finding romance in this fast-paced whodunit. A little guilty pleasure for soap opera fans and nonfans alike."

--Kay Alden, former head writer of

The Young and the Restless
and associate head writer of
The Bold and the Beautiful

"Through the character of Alexis, we get a real inside perspective on the life of a soap opera veteran--not a cliched diva, but a warm, complex, and thoughtful single mother with a great sense of humor about herself and the 'glamorous' world she works in. . . . Readers will be thrilled with the unexpected twists and turns of the plot. I know I was."

--Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott on

The Young and the Restless
)

"
Death in Daytime
[is] a funny and entertaining read that had me laughing out loud. Ms. Davidson draws on a world she knows very well and gives you a host of 'who done it' characters that keeps you guessing to the very end. I highly recommend the book and can see it as a movie."

--Ron Moss (Ridge Forrester on

The Bold and the Beautiful
)

"Eileen Davidson's debut mystery has star quality with an appealing protagonist and fascinating lore about the making of TV soaps."

--Carolyn Hart,
New York Times
bestselling author

Eileen Davidson

Death

in

Daytime

A SOAP OPERA MYSTERY

AN OBSIDIAN MYSTERY

OBSIDIAN

Published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Copyright (c) Eileen Davidson and Robert J. Randisi, 2008

All rights reserved

ISBN: 1-4406-3997-3

OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. PUBLISHER'S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.
This book is dedicated to my sister Connie,
who has always inspired me as a writer,
and now inspires me with strength and courage.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Much love and many thanks to my mom, Charlotte Greathouse, for a lifetime of love and support. And Patti van Patten for the last six years of love and support. To my dad, who I know is watching over and inspiring me. To all of my sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews for making my life so interesting and full. Thank you to Bill and Lee Bell for starting my career in daytime television, and to Bradley Bell for continuing it. To all the actors, crews, and production people who have given me so much personally and so much to draw from over the years! To Bob Randisi for helping me learn the ropes of writing a novel and for being so encouraging . . . and talented. And of course, love and thanks to my sons in all configurations--Paul, Duke, Flea, and Jesse--for keeping life real and
really
entertaining! And enormous thanks to my husband, Vincent, for helping me realize a dream. Come to think of it, lots of dreams!

Chapter 1

I really wasn't all that upset when Marcy Blanchard was murdered, but that was before I knew I'd become the prime suspect.

The MBN--Media Broadcasting Network--building isn't just any building; it's monolithic, a huge, sprawling metropolis of stages, executive offices, commissary, coffee bar, wardrobe departments, and special effects buildings. You can even get a car wash in the parking lot. All of this, surrounded by a battalion of huge satellite dishes--sentries guarding the bastion of Television--can be intimidating if you're new here. MBN has been around since the forties and is responsible for some of broadcasting's biggest hits, first in radio and then television. It started airing
The
Yearning Tide
way back in the early sixties. The basic premise of the show revolves around the loves and lives of the Benedict and Miller families in the bucolic seaside community of Hampton Heights. The Benedicts are a wealthy, not-so-nice family who made their millions in real estate. They own the hugely successful land development company Benedict Properties. I play the character Tiffany Benedict, firstborn daughter of Owen and Belinda Benedict. Tiffany has a younger brother, Denver, and younger half sister, Cicely. Tiff's the smart, kind, straight shooter of the family. Her sibs are downright nasty.

The Millers are a cop family, with little money but hearts of gold. Billy and his wife, Loretta, have two sons: Hank, a cop, and Matty, a doctor. The Millers had originally owned prime beach property that Owen Benedict (the Benedict patriarch) swindled from Sergeant Billy Miller (the Miller patriarch), thus creating a situation ripe for unending daytime drama. There are roughly twenty-five to thirty contract players (that means regulars) on the show, give or take a few. This depends on story and budget issues. The show is woven in and around different characters but always has its core families, the Benedicts and the Millers, in the mix. It's a recipe that has worked well for
The Yearning Tide
, because it quickly became a huge daytime hit and has rated in the top three for more than forty years.

I've been on the show for close to half of those years, so you'd figure I wouldn't need identification to get in, right? Wrong. I stopped at the gate and showed my ID that day, which had pretty much started like any other. Gone were the days when I could count on simply being recognized to get in. Things have gotten a lot more rigid at the studio since 9/11, as if terrorists are going to blow up game shows and reality series. Who's to say, though; maybe that would be a good choice. Just kidding. One time I forgot my ID, but since I was on the TV screen in the guard's booth at that moment (at MBN they pipe in only MBN shows all day--very 1984) I simply pointed to the screen and then at myself--nothing. So I again pointed with more emphasis at the screen and back at myself. Okay, maybe I don't look exactly the same on TV as in real life. But it's not that drastic a difference! Is it?

But back to today. I parked the car and as I started to get out, my coffee cup fell into my lap. Further portent of a bad day. I winced, because the travel cup was a good one that kept the coffee very hot. I pulled my bag onto my shoulder, grabbed what was left of my coffee, and headed through the glass front door of the MBN.

When no one was looking, I took the elevator, preferring it to the stairs. I mean, I care about keeping in shape, but let's not get carried away! I made my way to my second home--my dressing room. Photos of my kid and some magazine covers of me on the wall, fake orchids in a vase, a candle or two. That's it. I looked at my tired self in the mirror and dumped my makeup bag out onto the coffee table. I have a bad habit of trying to apply makeup in poorly lit environments. See, even though I have a terrific work ethic, I'm basically lazy. I gave up and decided that day to let the experts have a crack at it. Off to Hair and Makeup. My name is Alexis Peterson and I'm not a diva; I've never been a diva. Actually, I resent the term. When you hear the word "diva," you think of some obnoxious woman who happens to act or sing for a living, who doesn't have any appreciation for anyone but herself and who seems to think that only her needs matter.

I am a professional--what you call a working actress. I show up on time, I am always prepared, and I treat the people around me--cast and crew--with respect and consideration. I fell into acting after a fledgling modeling career. I did a few B movies and guest spots until I got my present part on
The Yearning Tide
, where I have been plying my trade now for more than twenty years. I find it odd, looking back, that on that particular day, as I was on my way to get made-up, I was indulging myself in some career/life retrospection. Acting has been very good to me. I've been quite successful. I love to act, but I hate a lot of the stuff that goes along with it. But if I'm going to be honest--and really, what have I got to lose?--I love all the bullshit, too. It's your typical love/hate relationship. Like almost every other relationship in my life. And then there was my marriage. Just when I was preparing myself to retire from acting, maybe write a novel, garden, you know, be a stay-at-home mommy, I discovered my then-husband, Randy, had spent my savings--and several other people's--on some investment scheme. He ended up having to leave the country or face jail time. So, presto chango, my life changed. I had to sell my very nice house and most of my very nice things because I was saddled with his huge debt, and I became a single parent. On top of all that, I was the darling of the tabloids. There's nothing more disturbing than being at the checkout counter of the grocery store with your three-year-old and having her yelling, "Mommy! Look, that's you on the magazine! And there's Daddy, too." Of course everybody stared and then quickly looked away. Oh, screw them . . . shit happens. Lucky for my ex, he gave me my beautiful child or I would have killed him.

And thank God for
The Yearning Tide
. I not only needed to work but also loved the perks. What other job would allow me to leave home in the morning, wearing my favorite jeans or sweats or something equally unattractive, and not even--like today--bother with makeup? Most of the time I don't even brush my hair. After all, I am going someplace where they have people to do that for me.

But there are times when I'm heading down the Pacific Coast Highway and I look in the mirror and am struck by the fact that, to passing motorists, I must seem like a serial killer--only because I have a focused pout plastered on my face, you know, getting ready for the day. After all, I'm not just an actress on a soap; I'm an actress on a soap where the head writer hates me. It takes a lot of focus to face that bitch every day. . . . Hair and Makeup . . . This was where all the
real
action and drama took place. This was the room that knew what was going on first, before anyone else. The way drunks confide in their bartenders? Multiply that by ten for actresses and their hairdressers. My hairdresser just happens to be my best friend. Probably because of all the things I've confided in him over the years. I figure it's safer to keep him close. He's a great guy. Smart, funny, cute and very gay. He also loves color. Purple pants, pink shirts, yellow shoes. You can't miss him. George and I discuss what "do" we're going for that day, which also depends on what other actresses are doing and the mood we're in ("we" because George and I are a team). It also depends on what kind of a scene I'm taping that day. You know, love scene, drunk scene, crying scene. George said we should do a very soft style because of all the emotion I had to play that day. I didn't know what he was talking about. Last time I looked I hadn't seen any emotional scenes in my script. Shocked, he said, "You didn't know you have a three-page monologue and lots of crying?"

More and more of my scripts, or just pages of certain scripts, were getting lost on their way to my dressing room, and I had no doubt who was behind the phenomenon.

"I'll be right back," I told George.

"Don't kill her," he said, because he knew for whom I was going to look.

BOOK: Death in Daytime
4.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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