Inoffensive bookseller Paris Minton’s friend Fearless Jones drags him from the safety of his shop into more trouble—big, big trouble—in 1955 Watts.
Leora Hartman wants Fearless to track down his own employer, watermelon salesman Kit Mitchell, the father of her son, who’s left his home with no forwarding address. But the inquiries Fearless enlists Paris to make are complicated by three dangers. First, Kit’s vanishing act is only the beginning of a case that will feature the disappearance of some much more important people and claim Kit’s life along with those of a brother and sister killed in separate but equally grisly incidents. Second, Paris and Fearless will soon be playing out of their league, caught in the crossfire between two of LA’s heaviest hitters—cosmetics queen Winifred L. Fine and crafty developer Maestro Wexler—and inevitably attracting the less-than-cordial interest of the LAPD. Third, all the parties Paris talks to, from Leora Hartman to Winifred L. Fine, lie to protect their own interests, turn his quest to their advantage, or hide their involvement in a chain of violence and betrayal that stretches all the way back to a priceless Fine family diary begun by a slave 300 years ago.
Paris (Fearless Jones, 2001) ends by wrapping up a mystery with perhaps a dozen too many tangles, accepting himself as a killer, and guaranteeing that no matter how well he succeeds in his errands to the powerful and fearsome, he'll never get rich.