On some days, New York is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
This was one of the other days.
Melody Malone, owner and sole employee of the Angel Detective Agency, has an unexpected caller. It’s movie star Rock Railton, and he thinks someone is out to kill him. When he mentions the ‘kiss of the Angel’, she takes the case. Angels are Melody’s business.
At the press party for Railton’s latest movie, studio owner Max Kliener invites Melody to the film set of their next blockbuster. He’s obviously spotted her potential, and Melody is flattered when Kliener asks her to become a star. But the cost of fame, she’ll soon discover, is greater than anyone could possibly imagine.
Will Melody be able to escape Kliener’s dastardly plan – before the Angels take Manhattan? – Online book description
In the revived Doctor Who, Season 7 Episode 5, The Angels Take Manhattan, The Doctor is reading a pulp detective novel titled Melody Malone: Private Detective in Old New York Town by one Melody Malone. The Doctor and Amy quickly figure out that Melody is in fact River Song and that the book is narrating what is currently happening to them.
The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery (which incidentally has the exact same cover as the other one) is apparently a prequel of sorts, showing what River/Melody is up to just before she encounters Rory in the middle of the road one rainy evening in 1938.
The story is narrated in the first person by River Song, who is for some reason working as a private eye in 1930s New York and calling herself Melody Malone. This is actually the novella’s best feature. Melody is every bit the irreverent, witty, humorously vain character played by Alex Kingston on Doctor Who. The writing is simply terrible by any objective standard, but it fits the character perfectly. Consider these few quotes:
I raised an alluring eyebrow. Alluringly.
The secret is not just to be stunning, which I find comes rather easily, to be honest. The tricky thing is getting exactly the right level of stun for the occasion.
Plus it’s always nice to talk to the most beautiful and intelligent woman in the room. So Giddy would be grateful for the opportunity.
There’s something like this on almost every page as River takes on bad guys armed with lipstick and cleavage, ensuring plenty of giggles.
There’s no character development to speak of and all the characters, including the protagonist, are quite flat. The plot is fairly simple, though with a pretty macabre twist towards the end. And if you’re a Doctor Who fan, there’s the ever-present threat of the angels, though they don’t feature as strongly in this tale as in the television episodes (and are less menacing if you don’t actually see them).
At only 80 pages it’s a bit on the short side. On the other hand, I don’t think I could have taken much more of River’s bits pointing in the right direction. But it was a fun way to fill an idle couple of hours and I’m sure even people who aren’t fans of Doctor Who will get some laughs out of it.
And the author?
Melody Malone is the owner and sole employee of the Angel Detective Agency in Manhattan. She is possibly married but lives alone usually, and is older than both her parents. Sometimes.
Why not visit her website? Ah – probably because the internet hasn’t been invented yet. Sorry, Sweetie.
– About the Author page in the book
Afraid I can’t tell you very much about Justin Richards. His name only appears on the copyright page, seeing that Melody is fictional and as such the copyright can’t belong to her…