Created by Liz Evans
Sporty Spice, P.I.? That's how the Oxford Times put it.
Thirtyish P.I. GRACE SMITH stumbles and wisecracks her way down the mean and sometimes rather wacky streets of an unnamed English seaside town on the south coast that's seen better days, in a series of books by Liz Evans. Poor Grace, crazy things just seem to happen to her.
Like, in one book, a woman walks into Grace's office and announces, 'I'm filthy rich and I've decided to make a will leaving the lot to a complete stranger. I've chosen you..." Or when Grace is hired to track down a missing person. But her client has no idea of the name of the girl, what she looks like or even if she's really missing. Or when she's called in to investigate the murder of Marilyn Monroe, a beach donkey found with its throat slit in a deserted outhouse.
Not to be outdone by the offbeat plots, Grace herself is quite a character: a junk-food junkie obsessed with training, a slob with a strong sense of how things should be, a notorious mooch, perpetually scrounging off her friends, determined to be independent. And for an ex-cop (forced to resign from the police for misconduct) she sometimes seems peculiarly ill-suited for her present occupation. Yet, through it all, Grace displays a heart full of true pluck and some admirable determination, even when she's reduced to living as a squatter.
With its oddball mix of cheeky humour and in-yer-face violence, out-there characters and sticky situations, and a relatively young and inexperienced investigator as its heroine, the series has drawn favourable comparisons to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.
Liz Evans was born in Highgate, educated in Barnet and has worked in all sorts of companies from plastic moulding manufacturers to Japanese banks, through to film production and BBC Radio. She now writes full-time, and lives with her family in Hertfordshire. She's also something of an expert on women and rock'n'roll. She's the editor of Women, Sex and Rock 'n' Roll (1994) and Girls Will Be Boys (1997).