Dead Beat and Deadly(1998)
(The third book in the Charlie Plato series)
A novel by Margaret Chittenden
After recovering from her last brush with murder, Charlie Plato, the manager of Chaps, a country-western club just outside San Francisco, decides to take time out from teaching the Texas two-step and get lessons herself - in self-defense. The women's kungfu course at Chaps is a bit slow warming up, except for Estrella, a pretty young Filipina who's more than a little eager. But rather than protecting herself from dangerous strangers, her real target, she confides to Charlie, is the husband who's been using her as a punching bag. When Estrella is fatally stabbed and tossed off a bridge, it isn't hard to put it down to a case of bad love. But Charlie, always curious, wants to know more about this petite hair stylist who came to Bellamy Park as a mail-order bride. Soon Charlie is deep into her investigation and finding pieces to a puzzle that don't seem to add up. For one thing, Estrella's brute of a husband is a strangely timid man sporting his own set of bruises. For another, she was last seen with a mystery date in a seedy night spot. And most mysterious of all, she drew a bundle of cash from the bank the day she died. With help from her business partner Zack Hunter, Charlie is now hot on the trail of a killer hiding in the shadows of the dance floor. What she finds will curl her red hair tighter than ever, as she discovers the lengths some people will go to escape their past and how quickly one set of lies escalates into a lifetime surrounded by them, with fatal consequences for anyone - including Charlie - who gets in the way.
Used availability for Margaret Chittenden's Dead Beat and Deadly
July 1998 : USA Hardback
December 1998 : USA Mass Market Paperback