An autumnal pair of cases for the Nameless Detective Agency explores the strains in two very different marriages.
Wives leave their husbands all the time, but James Cahill assures Nameless (Zigzag, 2016, etc.) that his wife never would have left him. Ever since she killed someone in a car accident four years ago, Alice Cahill has become severely agoraphobic and couldn’t even have ventured out to her front porch without suffering a panic attack. The members of Alice’s laughably small circle—her sister, Kendra Nesbitt; her brother-in-law and physician, Paul Nesbitt; and jewelry designer Fran Woodward, her best friend from college—don’t know a thing. The only leads are a threatened lawsuit by Grace Dellbrook, who insists that Alice’s romance novel The Convenient Bride plagiarized parts of Grace’s earlier What the Bride Found Out, and a neighbor’s account of seeing a light-colored sedan pull into the Cahill garage on the day Alice went missing. While Nameless beats the bushes, his operative Jake Runyon is ripping the lid off a different set of marital and extramarital secrets. Patricia Dennison is convinced that her husband, Philip, who accidentally died during a stay in a remote cabin he borrowed from a college friend, wasn’t spending his week away alone, and she wants Jake to find the other woman so she can say a few choice things to her. Jake finds out a lot more than that, making unwelcome discoveries about Philip Dennison, his women, and Joshua Fleming, Jake’s own long-estranged son.
Middling, professional-grade work for this long-running series, whose most notable feature is a broad hint in its closing pages that it may well be its nameless hero’s last case.