Bebe was oblivious to the world outside. She had been busy in her basement which served her as a recording studio. It wasn’t quite industry standard but it was most certainly good enough for the purpose of working on new material as well as her back catalogue in preparation for a return to the limelight. She was determined to make it happen before she turned 60, and for that she was running out of time.
Producing music was not the same as in the good old days. She had to do both the recording and the singing, but once she got started she felt like she was back in the heyday of her success. She could lose herself in the past for entire days. A small cupboard with snacks ‘to keep her going’ prevented her from having to walk up the steep stairs to the kitchen continuously, something rather important when you had creative juices flowing and the muse whispering into your ear.
In the basement, Bebe re-lived her glory. She rehearsed her large repertoire, wrote her own compositions and practised songs which she thought would sound so much better in her voice.
She was particularly jealous of Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse and Adele, all of whom were nothing but younger incarnations of herself, she felt. If only the record-buying audience could give her another chance to prove how much more soul and class her voice had compared with those amateurs. Why had there been a need for them when she was so perfectly capable of singing those songs just as well? Why did it always have to be someone new and younger? Why did composers and producers stop giving you their greatest work when you had the audiences ready?
Right now, however, none of that mattered, and neither did the snow. Bebe had suddenly been catapulted into her private showbiz heaven. In a TV talent show, the magnificent Will Young named Bebe as one of his favourite British artists. She could hardly contain her excitement and ran around her cottage like a headless chicken. There was just so much to think about. She could do a duet with the young man. He could invite her to be on the show? She’d always thought that Will Young and maybe Michael Buble were her natural male equivalents in the music industry. She could do well using either of them as a vehicle back to stardom. Admittedly, Buble, being Canadian, might not even have heard of her. But Will Young! What a joy! Her gays – her true and loyal admirers, would just love that. Oh how pleased she was that she had kept relations to their community amicable.
Overly excited, she went wild downloading music and instrumental versions of duets she thought would be candidates for a cover version between her and Will. Oh she was so pleased that he had won that talent show back then and not the other boy. Will Young was a godsend.
Bebe was so focused on her new project that she completely forgot to eat or worry about the snow. Motivated more than ever to be ready for that phone call to bring her back to the biz she started to use her Wii Sport, a Christmas present from Helena. Of course it had been a present meant to hurt her feelings but as it turned out it was another great piece in the jigsaw puzzle. Stuck indoors, Bebe had plenty of time to figure out how this thing worked and she practised plenty. She could feel an instant effect and felt years younger and slimmer already.
As soon as the snow was gone she would take up singing lessons again. She had set her eyes on a few difficult numbers, like I Feel Love and It’s a Heartache. Bonnie Tyler and Donna Summer were high on her list of artists whose repertoires could be sampled. Bebe had just about the vocal range to pull it off; the songs were well known and yet could easily be transformed in to the Jazzy funky new image that she envisaged for herself. All she had to do was take the big fog-horn parts out of the songs and make them sound hurt and soulful. She could do that, she had experienced enough pain to pour it into the new arrangements.
Helena did have the courtesy to telephone and enquire about her mother in the middle of the snow catastrophe.
“How sweet of you to call,” Bebe said, still high on her Will Young rush. “What a pleasant surprise.”
“Of course mother,” Helena said. “Listen, you haven’t heard from Aidan, have you?”
“No,” Bebe said, bemused. “Your lovely husband, unfortunately, never calls me. Is he alright?”
“Well,” Helena said, “if he does call, can you please tell him that I’m staying with you?”
“Why, where the devil are you, you naughty child?”
“Stuck in the snow,” Helena said sheepishly.
“Oh darling, please say it’s not with another man?”
Helena kept quiet.
“Oh Helena, what have you been up to now?” Bebe asked. “How do you always end up in so much trouble? You’ve only been married for a year and already you’re going astray and risk being caught in the act? The snow was forecast. Could you not have thought of that before going to some guy’s house?”
“Will you cover for me or not?” Helena asked.
“I don’t know,” Bebe said, “Aidan’s such a nice man.”
“There’s no point in making things worse by telling him the truth.”
“OK,” Bebe sighed. ”I suppose you’re right there.”
The Body in the Snow” is now available as e-book on Amazon on pre-order via these links:
For those who can’t wait, I have some ARC copies to give out.
THE BODY IN THE SNOW – A BEBE BOLLINGER MURDER MYSTERY:
Fading celebrity Bebe Bollinger is on the wrong side of fifty and dreaming of a return to the limelight. When a TV show offers the chance of a comeback, Bebe grabs it with both hands – not even a lazy agent, her embarrassing daughter, irritating neighbours or a catastrophic snowfall will derail her moment of glory. But when a body is found in her sleepy Welsh hamlet, scandal threatens.
Detective Sergeant Beth Cooper has a string of unsolved cases to her name. Her girlfriend left her and she’s a fish out of water in rural West Wales. Things couldn’t get much worse – until the case of the Body in The Snow lands in her lap.
Can Beth solve the case and save her career and can Bebe make her comeback? All will be revealed in this light-hearted, cosy murder mystery by best-selling and award winning historical and crime fiction novelist Christoph Fischer.