Heiress on Fire

By Kellie McCourt

Publisher/Year: HQ Fiction/2021

Publisher description

After accidentally blowing up her husband, can Indigo get back on her four-inch heels? In this madcap debut, One for the Money meets Crazy Rich Asians with a little Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries thrown in.

The marriage of Aussie billion-heiress Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg to conscientious reconstructive surgeon Dr Richard Bombberg has come to a spectacular end. In the middle of a cocktail party, Indigo set him and a mysterious redhead on fire. And then blew them and her penthouse up. All terrible accidents.

When detectives discover explosive device remains in the charred penthouse, they’re gunning for Indigo. Unless she can remain upright, stuff her dignity into her Chanel clutch and uncover the mystery redhead’s identity, she’s going to jail.

To help Indigo, her semi-retired, semi-Buddhist, supermodel mother hires Esmerelda, a recent graduate of the model mentor prison program, as Indigo’s personal assistant. Indigo and Esmerelda traverse Sydney’s upper-class underbelly picking locks, outsmarting bankers and leprechauns, beating up feared gangsters, breaking into hospitals, setting a cathedral on fire (another terrible accident), bribing a giant fireman and some other stuff.

How hard can all this be for an heiress and a felon?

Reviewer: Kerryn Mayne

Heiress Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg is not having a great time, and not just because her name doesn’t fit on official paperwork. She blames herself for the untimely death of her prominent plastic surgeon husband, Richard Bombberg in a fire at their penthouse. Which admittedly she did start, earning her the spot as number one suspect. It’s hard to take a book too seriously that casts Detective Burns and Detective Searing as the investigators of the penthouse fire (and double murder), but this is meant to be fun. So begins a fantastical romp through the unravelling of the late Doctor Bombberg’s secrets.

‘I began heaving with sobs. I was going to non-denominational hell.’

Indigo and her personal shopper/assistant (and parolee) Esmerelda are determined to find out what exactly Richard has been up to. They doubt the police have the ability to solve this one and Indigo’s freedom and insurance money (not that she needs it) are counting on it. Esmerelda prises the heiress from self-imposed exile in her mother’s palatial pool house to look for clues. They romp through an exclusive brothel (they prefer to be called ‘sex workers’ thanks) and into the freezer of an unassuming Italian restaurant.

Our accidental heroine, Indigo, is fabulously flawed. Newly widowed, she lustily eyes her brother-in-law and desires nothing more than to escape the whole mess by boarding her grandmother’s private jet to Thailand. Not to mention her propensity to faint (often after vomiting) when she gets a bit overwhelmed. This story takes a number of (well-dressed) twists and turns and finishes with a very satisfying ‘gotcha’. I would have loved to learn a bit more about Indigo’s indomitable grandmother, but there’s always the sequel (due 2022).

Heiress on Fire is crime done differently and a fun way to find out whodunnit. Who said murder couldn’t be hilarious?

‘I sent Esmerelda back to the SUV limousine for help. She came back with a bottle of Cristal.’ As you do. 

This is McCourt’s debut novel and I’m all for book number two. Give me more fashion-filled flights of fancy through Sydney’s underbelly and do it all in towering Louboutin’s.