In the 31st of this respected series (Mourners, 2006, etc.), the Nameless Detective returns to a case he once thought of as hopeless.
Nameless has been feeling, well, useless. Under the stewardship of his energetic young partners, his agency hums along with no apparent need of its erstwhile linchpin. Or so he tells himself on his bleaker days, like the one on which Celeste Ogden phones and phones again. He certainly remembers her case, though without pleasure. Shrewd, sharp-tongued, unpleasant Mrs. Ogden had been sure Brandon Mathias, her widowed older sister Nancy’s fiancé, was a plausible rogue and wanted Nameless to dig up preventive dirt. He tried, failed, was fired—and Nancy married the groom from hell. Now, four years later, Mrs. Ogden is calling to report a new development: her sister’s death. Officials call it an unfortunate accident, but Mrs. Ogden knows murder when she sees it, and this time around, she informs Nameless, he’s honor-bound to prove it. Meanwhile, a four-hour drive from their San Francisco headquarters, field op Jake Runyan has also taken a case he views dimly. Are the two connected? Is justice finally served in either? Instead of “Happily ever after,” Nameless concludes: “You tell me.”
Written and plotted with Pronzini’s usual care: the kind of work that restores faith in the genre.