Cici McNair's Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts might be subtitled "True Adventures of a Female P.I.", but, honestly, her entire life was an adventure. It's just that her life as a private investigator provides the framework for her memoir.
McNair tells of her life, beginning with her attempt to find a job by leafing through the yellow pages in the New York City telephone book. She had been a journalist, a novelist, and traveled the world, meeting romantic and exotic companions, but in 1994, she was in Manhattan, divorced, broke and living in a borrowed apartment. When she decided she could work as a private investigator, she methodically called firms, went for appointments, and was laughed at. Most detectives were ex-cops who stuck together, and they didn't want to take a change on an attractive brunette. Fortunately, Vinny Parco was willing to give her a chance.
Mixed in with McNair's adventures as a private investigator are stories of her childhood, growing up in Mississippi, daughter of a respected doctor who was an abusive father and husband. She tells of fears for her life, and the freedom she gained when she left home, a freedom that enabled her to travel and live an exhilarating life.
In her chatty style, McNair tells of travels in Africa and Europe, flings with exciting men, from gunrunners to princes, but she always returns to the stories of her job as a private investigator, working undercover, seizures, and routine work on the telephone. She admits, "It was exhilarating, it was secrets, it was sometimes so ticklishly exciting that I couldn't sleep."
Cici McNair gained a respect for the men she worked with. They were there when she had to deal with family issues. They became friends and mentors. They surprised her, and she continually surprised them.
McNair brings a novelist's skill to the telling of her memoir. It's fun, fascinating, and never boring. She claims none of the detectives were in it for the money. "It was all about finding the truth and helping people in terrible situations." Cici McNair always loved the adventure, and it certainly comes through in the book she entitled Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts.
Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts by Cici McNair. Center Street, ©2009. ISBN 9781599951874 (hardcover), 354p.