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Authors: Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic to the Rescue

BOOK: Shopaholic to the Rescue
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Shopaholic to the Rescue
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 by Madhen Media Ltd.

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by The Dial Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

T
HE
D
IAL
P
RESS
and the H
OUSE
colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

Published in the United Kingdom by Bantam Press, an imprint of Transworld Publishers, a member of The Random House Group, London.

L
IBRARY OF
C
ONGRESS
C
ATALOGING-IN-
P
UBLICATION
D
ATA

Kinsella, Sophie, author.

Shopaholic to the rescue : a novel / Sophie Kinsella.

pages ; cm

ISBN 978-0-8129-9824-5 (hardback)

ISBN 978-0-8129-9825-2 (eBook)

1. Family secrets—Fiction. I. Title.

PR6073.I246S58 2015

823'.914—dc23

2015026888

eBook ISBN 9780812998252

randomhousebooks.com

Book design by Dana Leigh Blanchette, adapted for eBook

Illustrations on the title page, chapter openers,

and
this page
,
this page
,
this page
, and
this page
: © iStockphoto.com

Title and illustration design: Scott Biel

v4.1

ep

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Dedication

Acknowledgments

By Sophie Kinsella

About the Author

From: [email protected]
To: Brandon, Rebecca
Subject:
A “request”
Dear Mrs. Brandon,
It has been a long time since I saw you last. I hope you and your family are flourishing.
As for myself, I am enjoying a life of retirement but find my mind often casting back fondly to episodes from my professional life at Endwich Bank. I have therefore decided to embark upon an “autobiography” or “memoir,” provisionally entitled:
Good and Bad Debts: The Ups and Downs of a Patient (and Not So Patient!) Fulham Bank Manager
.
I have written two chapters already, which were well received by members of my local horticultural club; several present even expressed the opinion: “They should put it on TV!” Well, I don’t know about that!!
I might say, Mrs. Brandon, that you were always one of my more “colorful” customers and had a “unique” approach to your finances. (I heartily hope and believe that you have mended your ways with maturity.) We crossed swords many a time, but I trust we reached some sort of
“entente cordiale”
by the time of my retirement?
I therefore wonder if I might interview you for my book at a time convenient to yourself? I await your reply with pleasure.
Yours sincerely,
Derek Smeath
Bank Manager (Retd.)
From: [email protected]
To: Brandon, Rebecca
Subject:
Re: Re: A “request”
Dear Mrs. Brandon,
I write in disappointment. I approached you in good faith, as a fellow professional, or even, dare I say, friend. I hoped to be treated as “such.”
If you do not wish to be interviewed for my “memoir,” then that is your choice. However, I am saddened that you felt the need to concoct an elaborate lie. Clearly this ridiculous, convoluted story about “racing after your father towards Las Vegas” to “uncover some mystery” and make sure “poor Tarkie isn’t being brainwashed” is entirely fictitious.
How many times, Mrs. Brandon, have I held missives from you in which you have claimed to have “broken your leg,” “suffered from glandular fever,” or told me that your (imaginary) dog has died? I had hoped that as a mature, married mother, you might have grown up a little. However, I find myself sadly disappointed.
Yours sincerely,
Derek Smeath
From: [email protected]
To: Brandon, Rebecca
Subject:
Re: Re: Re: Re: A “request”
Dear Mrs. Brandon,
To say I was astonished by your most recent email would be an understatement. Thank you very much for the series of photographs.
I can indeed see that you are standing on the edge of a desert. I see the RV that you are pointing at and the close-up of the map of California. I also observe your friend Lady Cleath-Stuart in one picture, although whether it is “totally obvious from her tortured expression that her husband has gone missing” is not for me to say.
May I please ask you to clarify: Your father has gone missing
and
so has your friend’s husband? Both at once?
Yours sincerely,
Derek Smeath
From: [email protected]
To: Brandon, Rebecca
Subject:
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A “request”
Dear Mrs. Brandon,
My goodness, what a story! Your email was a little garbled, if I may say—would these be the correct facts?
—Your father came to visit you in Los Angeles because he discovered some news regarding an old friend, Brent, whom he had not seen for many years.
—He then disappeared on a mission, leaving only a note in which he referred to “putting something right.”
—He has enlisted the help of Lord Cleath-Stuart (“Tarkie”), who has been through a difficult time lately and is in a “vulnerable state.”
—He has also co-opted a chap named “Bryce.” (Strange names they have in California.)
—Now you are following the three to Las Vegas in the fear that Bryce is a nefarious character who may wish to extract money from Lord Cleath-Stuart.
In answer to your query, I’m afraid I do not have any “blinding insights” with which to help you, nor did anything similar ever happen while I was at the bank. Although we did once have a rather “shady” client who attempted to deposit a bin bag full of £20 notes, whereupon I phoned the financial authorities. I will be recounting that “tale” in my book, believe me!!
I wish you every success in tracking down the missing three, and if I can be of any help whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely,
Derek Smeath

ONE

“OK,” says Luke calmly. “Don’t panic.”

Don’t panic?
Luke
is saying “don’t panic”? No. Noooo. This is all wrong. My husband never says “Don’t panic.” If he’s saying “Don’t panic,” then what he really means is:
There’s every good reason to panic.

God, now
I’m
panicking.

Lights are flashing and the police siren is still sounding. All I can think are wild random thoughts like,
Do handcuffs hurt?
and
Who shall I call from my jail cell?
and
Are the jumpsuits
all
orange?

A policeman is heading toward our hired Class C twenty-six-foot motor home. (Blue gingham drapes, flowered upholstery, six beds, although “bed” is an exaggeration—try “six skinny mattresses plonked on planks of wood.”) He’s one of those cool-looking American policemen with mirror shades and a tan, and he’s very scary. My heart starts to thump and I automatically start searching around for a hiding place.

OK, maybe this is a slight overreaction. But I’ve always been nervous around policemen, ever since I smuggled six pairs of dollies’ shoes out of Hamleys, at age five, and a policeman came up to me and boomed, “What have you got there, young lady?” and I nearly jumped out of my skin. He was admiring my helium balloon, it turned out.

(We sent the dollies’ shoes back in an envelope after Mum and Dad found them, with a letter of apology, which I wrote myself. And then Hamleys wrote back and said,
Don’t worry,
very nicely. I think that’s the first time I realized that writing a letter is actually a very good way to get yourself out of a tricky situation.)

“Luke!” I mutter urgently. “Quick. Are we supposed to bribe them? How much cash have we got?”

“Becky,” says Luke patiently, “I said, don’t panic. There’ll be a perfectly good reason why they’ve pulled us over.”

“Should we all get out?” says Suze.

“I say we stay in the vehicle,” says Janice, sounding edgy. “I say we act perfectly normal, as though we’ve got nothing to hide.”

“We
have
got nothing to hide,” says Alicia, sounding exasperated. “Everyone needs to relax.”

“They’ve got guns!” says Mum wildly, peering out of the window. “Guns, Janice!”

“Jane, please calm down!” says Luke. “I’ll go and talk to them.”

He gets out of the RV, and the rest of us look around at one another anxiously. I’m traveling with my best friend, Suze; my very much
un
-best friend, Alicia; my daughter, Minnie; my mum; and
her
best friend, Janice. We’re on our way to Las Vegas from L.A., and already we’ve argued about the air-conditioning, the seating arrangements, and whether Janice should be allowed to play Celtic pipe music to calm her nerves. (Answer: no. Five votes to one.) It’s a tad fraught, this road trip, and we’ve only been going for two hours. And now this.

I watch as the cop approaches Luke and starts talking.

“Doggie!” says Minnie, pointing out of the window. “Big, big,
big
doggie.”

A second cop has come up to Luke, with an intimidating-looking police dog. It’s a German shepherd and it’s sniffing around Luke’s feet. Suddenly it looks up at the RV and barks.

“Oh God!” Janice emits an anguished cry. “I knew it! It’s the narcotics squad! They’re going to sniff me out!”

“What?”
I turn to stare at her. Janice is a middle-aged lady who likes flower arranging and doing people’s makeup in lurid shades of peach. What does she mean, sniff her out?

“I’m sorry to have to tell you, everybody…” She gulps dramatically. “But I have illicit drugs about my person.”

For a moment, nobody moves. My brain is refusing to compute these two elements. Illicit drugs? Janice?

“Drugs!”
Mum exclaims. “Janice, what are you talking about?”

“For jet lag,” Janice moans. “My doctor was so unhelpful, I had to resort to the Internet. Annabel at the bridge club gave me the website, but it had a disclaimer:
May be prohibited in certain countries.
And now that dog will sniff them out and we’ll get hauled in for questioning—”

BOOK: Shopaholic to the Rescue
10.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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