Even death doesn’t stop the family’s black sheep from causing more problems.
Claudia, who ingested drugs the way most of us breathe air, apparently took her last fix, then toppled into her bathtub, where she died. Eerily, the date of her demise coincides with the anniversary of her mother’s suicide. Lily, who spent years tidying up the messes left by their father’s abandonment, their mother’s temperament and Claudia’s escapades, returns from a year doing travel writing in Spain to handle her sister’s final misdeed. She’s stunned to learn that the body in the tub isn’t Claudia; the woman who phoned in the death has gone missing; and the new tenant in the neighboring apartment seems to know every aspect of the family’s sad history. Hoping that Claudia is alive somewhere, Lily goes looking for her with the help of her chum Tiger. Her search leads to some unsettling developments. Claudia may have seduced Lily’s ex-fiancé Martin; Claudia’s lover Tariq gets shot at; several people from the rehab center Claudia stayed at, including the corpse in the tub, are now dead. There will be one last revelation before all facts are known and Lily’s days of mothering her sister come at last to an end.
Davidson’s first mystery follows 18 nonfiction books. The story is zealously overplotted, but Lily’s emotional center is true, and her career as a travel writer might make her a decent candidate for more temperate adventures.