Book extract: Accidental widow star of madcap debut novel

Day 21: Kellie McCourt’s debut novel is an entertaining look at the lives of the rich and accident-prone. The author has combined her love of writing, her passion for shoes and a few colourful elements from her misspent youth as a wayward socialite to create this wild story about how the other half lives. Every day this month we are publishing an extract from a book by an Australian author to provided inspiration for your 2021 reading list.

Heiress on Fire by Kellie McCourt.
Heiress on Fire by Kellie McCourt.

Extract from Heiress on Fire:

Chapter 1 - Living in the pool house

It is exactly 11.10am on a glorious, sunny summer day, in a glorious house. Well, a glorious pool house in the same compound as a glorious main house. But what is important here is that I have a glorious bottle of perfectly chilled Shaw & Smith sauvignon blanc in my hand. It is not my first for the day and it certainly will not be my last. Who knew a $50 bottle of wine could taste so good?

I will admit I am slightly mortified that I have been wearing the same pair of mismatched silk boxers and camisole for at least four days. And I have officially run out of clean knickers.

I am also not super thrilled that I am not in my own home, a recently completed penthouse in Sydney’s Double Bay, because, well, it burnt down.

And yes, I am drinking cheap wine and living in my mother’s pool house, because I am completely devastated that last week — I think it was last week, it might have been the week before, I am not one hundred per cent sure what day it is — I blew up my husband, Dr Richard Bombberg MBBS FRACS.

Not on purpose you understand. Absolutely by accident. I did not set fire to the penthouse on purpose either. Both things: Absolutely. By. Accident.

I mean, after all, no one educated at Sacred Heart St Ignatius Ladies College (SILC), the most exclusive private girl’s school in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, would kill their husband

on purpose if he were a surgeon, right? Maybe if they had accidentally married an accountant or something. But not a surgeon. And certainly not a plastic surgeon. And absolutely, certainly not a first-class plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

Sadly, judging by the frequency of their visits, I have a feeling the police do not feel the same way.

My name is Indigo Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg. In addition to now being a widow-heiress kind of heiress, I am also the heiress to the Hasluck-Royce fortune. The latter of which makes me a billion-heiress.

And in another recent addition to my social portfolio, I’m apparently also a stone-cold killer. Getting front row seats at Fashion Week this year could be a problem.

As you may have noticed, I am a hyphen person — not one, not two, but three hyphens. That is what happens when big egos marry big portfolios. And in truth my first name is not actually, technically Indigo. It is Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber.

No, no one ever calls me that. God — at least I hope not.

I am able to consume multiple bottles of wine and remain upright thanks to the wonderful genes of my father, the late, great William David Hasluck-Royce. Known to his friends

as Lucky Bill.

Lucky Bill died when I was fourteen under what we would politely call somewhat dubious circumstances. That is to say he wrapped his Ferrari around a telephone pole in Central

Park and was killed instantly.

Not so scandalous if you ignore the fact that alive and well in the back seat, along with a crate of Cristal Champagne, a whole, raw, pink salmon, an ounce of a white powder

in a plastic zip-lock bag and a green velvet sack with exactly twenty-eight green marbles, were nineteen-year-old identical twins from Thailand, Mia and Tia.

Please, don’t ask me what the marbles were about. I don’t know and I don’t want to know. They concern me more than the fish.

Mia and Tia had recently graced the cover of Sports Illustrated together. And Dad had a thing for models. In fact, I think he just liked beautiful things. You cannot fault him for that. Shoes. Handbags. Shiny new appliances.

Who doesn’t like beautiful things?

Few items can match the splendour of a pair of Jimmy Choos or a new Smeg toaster.

I cannot believe my whole shoe collection went up in smoke. That alone should convince the police I did not do it on purpose. If I was going to kill my husband by blowing

him up I would do it far, far away from my Choos.

From my father I also gained my green eyes (which I like) and my brown hair (which is too dark and too thick for my liking). My skin is not pale enough to be English rose and not dark enough to be exotic. It is however, mercifully (and thanks to some medical and pharmacological assistance) smooth and meticulously maintained.

My mother is, of course, beautiful. But not just ordinary beautiful. Model beautiful.

You can purchase the book here.

Heiress on Fire (published by Harper Collins) is available at book stores (RRP $29.99).