Tuesday, December 23, 2008

HOLIDAY MYSTERY IN THE BIG APPLE - FIRST LOVE FROM SILHOUETTE #173 - SOMEONE ELSE


I love the photo cover !, a roaring fire , the edge of a Christmas tree draped with a glittering silver garland , wrapped presents sitting atop the fireplace mantel , and Kellogg and Carey by the tree immersed in opening a small box that even holds the golden retrieve Theo’s attention. Very festive!


The Kellogg and Carey books were actually a series within a series - rather like Sweet Valley High spawning off - First Love From Silhouette had several series within their thematic romances that popped up now and then with recurring characters - sometimes they were so popular they actually altered the lacy First Love From Silhouette outline to read - A Blossom Valley book , A Hart Mystery or A Kellogg and Carey Storey - others - the Vonnie books were unmarked and undistinguishable from a regular First Love From Silhouette.
- The Kellogg and Carey books focused on two childhood friends who , now teenagers are trying to figure out how to carry on a friendship without letting romanticfeelings destroy it , at the same time solving mysteries like a junior version of Remington Steele.
The story enfolds with Kellogg coming to New York with Theo his beloved golden retriever to see his best friend , childhood chum Carey. Carey lives in a penthouse , her father is a powerful publisher while Kellogg lives an interesting life having been raised in the famous Seven Cypress Inn in the Hamptons , his mother the proprietor and his father the chief of police. Carey has a likable , saucy black cook named Jefferson Booker Lowell. ( ever notice in the 80's people never stumbled around trying to find the politically correct term , sometimes I think it was better and easier - for instance with so many immigrants in Canada - do you call them Jamaican-Canadians? Or if they came from America having come from Africa - African-American-Canadians. I don’t know , I never found calling someone black as being racist , maybe if that’s all you had to say about a person sure , but I’m more concerned with
wether a person is an idiot rather than their race. ) Anyhow Jefferson Booker
Lowell is one of those feisty characters who reminds me of Benson - remember that character from Soap who spun off his on series. Down to earth and just a wee bit lippy in fact he seems insulted when Kellogg asks him , a french cook to make him something as ordinary as a grilled cheese sandwich. Carey’s dilemma is her father is marrying a woman she believes to be a gold digger ,and Kellogg unsure how to make her feel better tries to look at things logically what proof do you have - she dismisses this with a woman knows these things. Kellogg is startled that 16 yr. Old Carey thinks of herself as a woman. When he still recalls her as a child who wanted to be Minnie Mouse.
To avoid an argument he goes outside to get Theo ( the dog , ) who has squeezed onto another terrace and is thought to be chasing squirrels 27 stories up! and Kellogg attempting to squeeze through the fence after him, gets stuck. While he lies there hoping to die of mortification , Mrs. Brinks the owner of the apartment wonders if she’s just found the stupidest burglar. Carey meanwhile grabs Kellogg’s ankles and yanks till he yells cut that out! But that just leads to Mrs. Brinks thinking he’s crazy not being able to Kellogg’s other half. I was laughing like crazy at this point especially when Mrs. Brinks and Carey greet each other and everyone’s forgotten about Kellogg half in and half out of the fence. Who makes grumbling quips in hopes of being remembered. No such luck. Finally he interrupt Mrs. Brinks ‘can you just haul on my arms while Carey pushes’ but just then Theo comes over trailing the cause of his disappearance a tiny white poodle , Traitor! Kellogg shouts and Mrs. Brinks says now young man you mustn’t panic help is on the way! They finally pull him out and invite Mrs. Brinks to take a walk with them , knowing Theo wants to be with the poodle Samantha and then surprises Mrs. Brinks by taking her to look at the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller center.

They then learn that Mrs. Brinks wanted to be a Rockette ( one of those high kicking chorus girls ) just like Mr. Ashton’s soon-to-be wife Lilly Labomba ( I would think even for the 80's that name sounds like a strippers name but it sort of suits her character as she is rather low class and a possible gold digger who calls Carey’s dad Pookie.) No matter how happy you are , Mrs. Brinks says , you always want to be someone else. Back at the apartment , Kellogg and Carey drink hot chocolate and wonder if when they get to be old they’ll have regrets worse yet , they realize they’re going in separate dirrections - him wanting to take over his parents Inn while Carey longs to be a traveling reporter. While Carey demands they spend Christmas vacation investigating ( ahem - following ) Miss Labomba , Kellogg is disgusted and would rather go shopping. Staking out her apartment Kellogg gets bored and wanders off to get a coffee comes back only to find that Carey has drawn on the alley wall with chalk leaving a trail of arrows - Although this is a cute idea - one has to wonder at least once , logic forces us , where did Carey get the chalk! Kellogg follows the arrows till they reach the subway and then decides to just go shopping while Carey presses on without him , we later learn that as the police
come to inform them that Mrs. Brinks is missing , that Carey lost Miss Labomba ( who was onto her ) and spent the entire day getting pushed and shoved onto the wrong subway routes due to overcrowded Christmas shoppers. Although distraught that their new found ‘friend’ Mrs. Brinks is missing upon learning that Theo is missing too , Kellogg near in tears , flings himself into the search and rushes off into the park. I love the following scene - Carey follows him though protesting the idea mentioning the probability of muggers and killers ( was it just the 80's or was New York like an episode of the Equalizer with criminals skulking around every alleyway? ) Kellogg isn’t going to take any chances - when they hear a group of teenagers approach they jump off the path into the trees - so nobody will see their footprints and wait
for them to pass. Pretty smart. Of course Kellogg takes this heart pounding moment to kiss Carey who makes the requisite comment - we shouldn’t have done that. Kellogg protests why not , we love each other. ( Almost sounds like a friends with benefits intro ) But Carey afraid of change says ‘friends who fall in love spoil everything.’ Mrs. Brinks children a rather awful pair , one a holier than thou aristocrat , the other fat and accusing. As Mrs. Brinks shouts that her mother is no longer signing their checks that she could be out their giving her money away to orphans , to the hungry - to the deserving - Carey bursts in. It’s Carey who finds Mrs. Brinks working in a t shirt shop she’s gone punk! - orange curls , green fingernails , pink and yellow striped slacks a neon blue blouse and earrings in the shape of toasters ( I immediately thought of Mrs. Slocombe , from Are you Being Served - An old British show that carried on into the 80's , whose hair had been dyed every color of the rainbow - from bright green to Easter egg pink and even went punk a few times ( for laughs ). After Mrs. Brinks’s showdown with her children in which they threaten to put her to in a home , she pulls out her secret weapon t shirts that say Free Brinks - like Free Ferris?! In neon-pink and aqua-neon. And rather than be humiliated by New Yorkers taking up the cause , they back off but after a talk they realize things could’ve been fixed by communicating , that the children aren’t as hideous as their behavior. ( That’s what I love about series fiction that alls well that ends well feeling! ) Even Carey learns that her Miss Lilly Labomba’s big secret was trying to improve her diction so she wouldn’t seem so low class. And Carey’s embarrassment that she was so wrong even has a Christmas theme hue - she blushes poinsettia red! The story ends with Kellogg back at the Seven Cypress Inn with Carey drinking eggnog and putting a silver garland on the tree -( what’s your preference silver or gold?) And Kellogg discovering he’s tall enough to put the star on the tree without the ladder. Sweet but not saccharine.





It got me in the mood for Hart to Hart , I love that series!- I have the 1st season on DVD and watched the one , semi-holiday episode Downhill to Death where the honeymoon-never-ends duo head to Vail to stop a cheating hubbies plot to murder his wife whose plans were overheard by the vivacious Jennifer. Although not strictly a Christmas episode , I love the bright ski outfits , the sleigh ride and the ultimate Christmas pun - the killer dresses in a so-cute frosty the snowman costume to do his/her dirty deed!

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