Writer-sleuth Charlotte Kent is living in New Haven, Connecticut, with her adopted, wheelchair-bound, teen-aged son Joey and surgeon lover Rob Solli, amid a host of flaky friends who tend to appear at mealtimes. Charlotte's job as editor of Pen and Pencil, a writer's mag, has its frustrations, but all is well until the holiday morning Charlotte arrives at her empty office building to find the bullet-torn body of Wes Bell, a successful novelist and the magazine's chief contributor. She suffers a brief, bruising encounter with the unseen killer before the police arrive. Detective Lieutenant Michael O'Malley, an old adversary (Dead and Gone), has fingered hack writer Owen Strathmore as his chief suspect, on the basis of his rumored affair with Bell's wife, Corinna. Unconvinced, Charlotte soon has a list of people who hated the arrogant Bell enough to kill--David Fischer, whose ideas had been used by Bell for his prize-winning novel; literary critic Philetta Poole, mercilessly and recognizably lampooned in Bell's latest; erratic, untalented Brady Willamette, a student in Bell's writing workshop. Then Charlotte, exploring the possibilities, soon realizes that her own life is in danger--a suspicion fortified by two more murders. By the time the killer's identity is certain, Joey is also at risk, but it'll be his bravery that saves them both. In and around the sometimes muddled plot developments are numerous individual crises, most of them resolved by a relentlessly cheery Charlotte in the brisk, amiable style that characterizes this entertaining story.