Detective Nathan Heller (Damned in Paradise, 1996, etc.), trying to live the good life in Florida after his time with the Chicago PD, sets out to solve the mystery of Amelia Earbart's disappearance. But is he successful? Well, part of the mystery gets cleared up--if you're willing to take Nate's word for how the flier died--but he also leaves behind plenty of mottled residue in his iffy wake. Was Earhart embarked on an American spy mission when her plane went down in 1937? Did the US betray her in some kind of nefarious cover-up? Nate seems to think so, and heaven knows he was close enough to the situation to fathom it. . . close as can be, in fact, to the lady herself (""To me, and only me, she was Amy,"" he purrs). Hired by her mean-spirited, exploitative husband to perform various security functions, Nate put his own spin on bodyguarding. He and his heroine discovered the ways in which they were kindred spirits, and, not long after, Nate and (bisexual) Amy were ripping off each other's clothes. This was a love match, no less. But Amy was born to be a flier and a celebrity, and so they had to part. She grabbed headlines here and there, and when, just after her 39th birthday, she crashed into the South Pacific, Nate was commandeered for a search mission by conspiracy geeks in the US government. He found her alive in Saipan, where the Japanese had jailed her for reasons too convoluted to clarify here. The research is certainly diligent, though some of the conclusions have an ersatz feel. By and large, though, Nate's ninth is an entertaining case--if you aren't put off by the author's characteristically clunky prose.