When a stalwart of the Nameless Detective Agency is jailed on homicide charges, his co-workers spring into action.
Jake Runyon has his doubts about new client Verity Daniels, now ensconced in the pricey Bayfront Towers apartment complex, where security is tight, residents are uber-rich, and she claims someone has demanded, out of the blue, that she pay $10,000 or suffer the consequences. She giggles inappropriately, comes on to Jake, tells him a few whoppers about her background, “accidentally” disconnects the trace equipment he puts on her phone, and is left unharmed with the extortion money intact when no one shows up to collect it. After Jake finally dumps this cuckoo client, she retaliates by filing rape and assault charges against him. These come to nothing but inconvenience until she’s found dead, strangled, her head bashed in, Jake’s coat button clasped in her hand. Now he’s indicted for murder. Once she starts digging, Nameless office manager Tamara turns up three old beaus of Verity: her former boss, a married insurance agent; her former fiance, who was about to ditch her before he drowned on a camping trip with her; and her former husband, a broke landscaper, now remarried, who couldn’t put up with her lovers. Meanwhile, Bill, the Nameless agency owner who hasn’t really worked since Hellbox (2012) since he’s been nursing his wife back to stability after her awful abduction experience, steps in to save Runyon. Down the dark streets he goes, maybe a little slower than before—after all, he’s pushing 70—but in exemplary fashion.
Smooth, readable, not top-notch Pronzini, but better than much of the noir material out there.