Mommy meets working girls.
Juliet Applebaum, wife of a schlockmeister L.A. screenwriter, mother of three and part-time partner in the p.i. agency former cop Al Hockey runs out of his garage, barely gulps when she surveys her new client’s vibrant green eye shadow and nail polish and full-fashioned wig, not to mention her six-foot-plus frame. Miss Heavenly, a former he, wants to know who killed her sister Violetta. So what if she was an addict and a Figueroa Street hooker? She’s been dead six months, the cops haven’t a clue, and her poor mother’s heart is breaking. Juliet carpools her kids, then heads for Figueroa, where, with the permission of Baby Richard, the pimp loitering at the taco stand, she buys coffee and buns for his girls and learns Violetta was not the only one killed, probably by the same man. Juliet rushes off to the detective in charge of cold cases. Meanwhile, another pimp crosses Juliet’s path, and she sinks much of her babysitting budget into coffees for the working girls. Turning to Violetta’s family for insight, she discovers that Violetta shot up the money supposed to finance her rehab and came on to her own brothers, even Heavenly, before he changed over. But did it all add up to murder?
Though Juliet (The Cradle Robbers, 2005, etc.) is still adorable, Waldman has bouts of preachiness better suited to the op-ed page than a mystery.