Despairing Reno p.i. Jack Ross returns from his self-imposed Nevada desert exile when Miranda Santee, a local TV reporter, tracks him down and shows him a picture--of her grandmother and his mother back in their showgirl days, with casino-owner Lanky Chandler and several mobsters. Miranda tells him that his mother's death 25 years ago may have been a murder, not an accident--and she tells him that the women stole $40,000 from Natty Stern's skimming operation, waylaid Hiram Vanca for it, and took off--except that Ross' mother, Celeste, was then found and killed. But, meanwhile, where's Granny? Ross agrees to take the case and, in Lew Archer fashion, is soon up to his memories in search of a parent who abandoned a child--or did she? And--of all the many possibilities--who was the father? Among the choices that Ross comes across: mob boss Natty Stern; one-eyed Hiram Vanca; and feeble casino-owner Lanky Chandler. By the time Ross straightens out the genealogy, assorted goons are dead, as are top mob types, and Ross has also been smashed up. Like Schopen's The Big Silence (1989): wordy, convoluted, overwritten.