A young Boston Brahmin finds a fulfilling new life among the private eyes and criminals of Los Angeles.
In order to escape the stultifying orbit of her proper parents, Mercy Allcutt has fled to live in L.A. with her sister Chloe and Chloe’s movie mogul husband. Thanks to an inheritance and her wealthy sister, she’s living in the lap of luxury. Mercy, whose curiosity has already landed her in some trouble (Angels Flight, 2009, etc.), has taken a job as private investigator Ernie Templeton’s secretary. Now it’s Ernie who’s in trouble. When he fails to appear for a meeting with his old pal, police detective Phil Bigelow, Mercy goes to his client’s house only to find the client, Mrs. Persephone Chalmers, dead at the foot of the stairs and Ernie drugged and tied up in her bedroom. After cutting him free, she calls the police. The detective in charge of the case, no friend of Ernie’s, still considers him a prime suspect despite Mercy’s testimony. So, ignoring Ernie’s command to mind her own business, Mercy takes to sleuthing. Her interest focuses on the Angelica Gospel Hall, where Persephone was a loyal member. Mercy’s formidable mother is in town to provide some distraction by constantly deploring Mercy’s socialist tendencies, but she soldiers on, oblivious to the real danger she is courting.
Mercy’s third appearance combines a nice feeling for life in 1920s Los Angeles with a more solid mystery than usual.