A menopausal PI has to deal with men’s romantic obsessions.
Quinn, suffering blast-furnace hot flashes that threaten to warm Seattle’s intemperate climate, is doing grunt work for mitigation specialist Vincent Ainge, whose nodding acquaintance with Eileen, a pretty 18-year-old who worked for testimonial dinner promoter Arnie Stimick, looks sinister now that the girl’s gone missing. With more time on her hands than change in her pockets, Quinn calls on Stimick, who, almost as gaga as Vincent is over Eileen, hires Quinn to find out what happened to her. The cops beat her to it, discovering the poor girl’s body, then her abandoned car, and then sizing up Randy Merck for a Murder One rap and the death penalty. Complications ensue when Vincent, whose job is to negotiate a life sentence for Randy, gets shanghaied into joining Arnie’s Justice for Eileen group and ends up playing both sides of the fence in his obsession with Eileen’s grieving mom. Randy confesses, but Quinn’s skepticism about his story lands her and two others in a room with Eileen’s lovelorn killer. The bottom line is another death and one less crony for Quinn to pal around with.
Argula (Homicide My Own, 2005) can make English seem like a loopy foreign language, but her real achievement is in combining humor with pathos in delineating the absurdities of middle-aged yearnings and the fear of dementia.