The main character in Cover-Up Story is Doug Perkins, of London PR firm Perkins and Tate. To call Perkins and Tate a successful PR firm would be stretching the truth: they have a tiny office, their part-time receptionist/secretary is literally a schoolgirl, and buying a cup of coffee might blow the petty cash budget. It is the late 1980s and the excesses of the decade have taken their toll.
Perkins is putting all his eggs in one basket: he is banking on financial and reputational saving from Nashville’s Bart and the Cousins, in England on a hastily-arranged road trip. They have a chart-topping single and a charismatic lead singer, Black Bart, who is very popular with teenage girls.
Unfortunately for Perkins, Black Bart likes his underage fans a little too much – apparently an upset daddy is the reason for the cross-Atlantic journey. Keeping that news out of the London tabloids, plus dealing with the sudden demise of Bart’s mother-in-law, is taking all Perkins’ talent. Then there’s the matter of the deceased’s final words, “The bastard pushed me!” Perkins has a fair idea who that bastard might be.
Peopled with horrible characters doing horrible things for music, money and fame, Cover-Up Story is a gentle mystery that is entirely a product of its time.