A husband-and-wife detective team takes on its inaugural cases.
Now that her ex-husband’s body is tidily stashed under a church basement in St. Louis, Helen Hawthorne (Half-Price Homicide, 2010, etc.) is ready to start a new life. After years of earning sub-minimum wages to avoid paying alimony to her creepy ex, she and her new husband Phil hope that Coronado Investigations will produce at least a modest, steady income. But their first two cases don’t look too promising. Custom auto restorer Gus Behr wants the pair to look into the cause of his brother Mark’s death—25 years ago. Meanwhile, Shelby Minars hires Coronado for a more routine case: getting the goods on her cheating husband Bryan. Not only is the Minars case more routine, it drags Helen back onto more familiar turf. Since Bryan spends six hours a day working out, she gets herself hired as a receptionist at Fantastic Fitness, hoping to catch him in flagrante with whoever he’s flagranting. Unfortunately, undercover work in a dead-end job comes with all the responsibilities of a real dead-end job, and soon Helen is breaking up fights between clients arguing over whether CNN or Fox News should be airing above the treadmills. Her prime headache is Debbi Dhosset, a body builder with zero percent body fat and 90 percent attitude, whose trainers Kristi and Tansi pump her up with enough steroids to turn her into a murderer. But when Debbi herself turns up dead, Helen ends up with a third, non-paying client: gentle Evie Roddick, who’s accused of killing the girl with the killer bod.
Coronado’s off to a respectable start with a variety of offbeat cases that should bring Helen a decent payday at last.