Yet another plucky California p.i. debut—San Francisco's Jessica Randolph, who works for Parks & O'Meara Investigations (O'Meara's a dog). Her case: to prove that her father, who abandoned her years ago, did not murder his business partner's daughter, Debbie Collington, after escorting her to the Art & Flowers Ball. Like Jess, Debbie was estranged from her dad, and tabloid pictures showed her cavorting on the yacht of Colombian emerald/cocaine-importer Guillermo Reyes. Then Jess discovers Debbie's emerald necklace was really paste; a wildly expensive oil painting was stolen from her apartment (did her boyfriend Peter Brockway love her or her valuables?); and sweet Debbie was actually a blackmailer. Who was her target? Her own dad? Jess's dad? Or? Another murder occurs, a plane ticket is fudged, and the art thief is accosted before Deb's murder is brought to justice, and Jess and her father begin, tentatively, a small friendship. Earnest, simplistic, contrived—with a dull heroine, some unengaging romantic twinges, and a gooey (to say the least) father- daughter rapproachment. First, alas, in a series.
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