Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What's in Clare Vengel's Handbag?

Cigarettes, fake ID, and a cell phone registered to the same alias.

As an undercover cop, Clare's job is pretending to be someone else. While she may not be a rock star in some ways her superiors would like—she sleeps with suspects, doesn't follow orders, and gets into dangerous situations because she doesn't think things through—Clare excels at slipping into a new skin and being accepted as one of the locals.

In Death Plays Poker, she's undercover as Tiffany James—trust fund fashion princess with more bankroll
than skill, playing poker with a crowd happy to smile at her while they take her money. Inside her Coach purse, Clare's cell phone has a glittery pink cover (which she hates) with a Lady Gaga ringtone (“Poker Face”). She has expensive mineral foundation and other makeup her handler has taught her to use.

In Death's Last Run, Clare is undercover as Lucy Lipton—a granola crunching, craft beer drinking, snowboarding slacker. She doesn't have a handbag: she totes her things in the many pockets of her purple ski parka. Her wallet is ratty, she wears minimal makeup but probably carries some lip gloss for the cold mountain air. Her cell phone is in a plain, beaten-up case with some worn stickers with sassy slogans, like I think therefore I'm single. She carries Rizla rolling papers in case any of her new friends needs a spare.

In all cover roles, she has cigarettes and a lighter. But she's growing up, so maybe that will change.


Meredith Cole said...

That sounds like the toughest part of being undercover to me--having to change everything (including, gasp (!), the contents of your purse) for each new role... I don't think I could do it. I guess I'll stick with writing, then!

Sheila York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheila York said...

I noticed I left something out of my previous comment. It seems for an undercover cop, everything you own has to be just right, more than just right, really. Because what would be out of character for an ordinary person (but not given more than a mild comment) -- like me with an organized handbag! -- could be dangerous indeed for an undercover cop.

Robin Spano said...

You guys are right. One slip and she could be made. Luckily Clare has an OCD handler who details her cover characters and helps her shop for a new wardrobe for each case.