There's no trench coat, no dingy office with a bare bulb hanging over an ashtray full of chain-smoked Camels. Yet if Denise McConnell ever screamed "Freeze!" it would be a hardened criminal, indeed, who wouldn't stop dead in his tracks. Although it may be hard to believe, this soft-spoken, doe-eyed lovely is a licensed private investigator, a true-life counterpart to the best of Charlie's Angels.
Surprisingly, just as in the fantasy TV series, being a beautiful sleuth has its advantages. We suspect that most of Denise's subjects end up following her. A canny ploy when effective and one that sets her technique apart from the crude tactics of, say, Mike Hammer. Says she: "It's a real advantage being a female in this business. If I want to talk to someone, especially a man, it's not hard to get his attention."
Denise was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, to a U.S. Air Force officer and a Puerto Rico-born mother. She started in the private-eye business as a secretary, found it extremely boring and decided the streets were where the action was. After a bit of training, she found she had a Holmesian knack for tracking down the bad guys and she is now a partner in an agency specializing in missing-persons, child-custody and divorce cases. She lives in Norman, Oklahoma, a college town that Denise finds satisfyingly tranquil except on football days. "I like that about Oklahoma; you can always find a place that's quiet. In a large city, with all the noise, I can't get to sleep at night." The fact that the gumshoe racket can get a bit exciting for someone who likes quiet is lost on Denise. "There really isn't that much to it. The people are different, but each case is pretty much the same; you follow somebody, you dig up information, you question people. It can get scary at times, but I don't think about that." Won't Playboy, uh, blow her cover? "No, I often use disguises. Sunglasses and a wig and I'm a different person." With that, Denise took a long, hard pull on her Coca-Cola. It was time to go to work. She ran her handkerchief around the glass to remove the fingerprints, felt for the bulge under her left arm and quietly stole away into the night. The stake-out could last until morning. Somewhere a dog howled in the fog.
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