A first novel, set in Miami's upper-class Cuban community, featuring private eye Lupe Solano, daughter of rich ÇmigrÇs, who shares her cottage office with muscle-freak cousin Leonardo. Lupe's wealthy new clients, Lucia and JosÇ Antonio Moreno, want her to find the birth mother of their daughter Michelle, now a year and a half old. Adopted at two weeks through well-known lawyer Elio Betancourt, Michelle has a rare, inherited disease and can be saved only by bone marrow from her mother. Betancourt, however, is running an illegal, very lucrative baby-selling racket and will tell the Morenos nothing. Lupe, then, begins with a search through Dade County records and some quizzing of her usual contacts, turning up the name of the obstetrician, now vanished, but little else. Her surveillance of the lawyer's ongoing operations, though, reveals that his source for infants is not in Florida, but in Cuba, with secretive boatman Alberto Cruz and massive, ever-pregnant Barbara Perez making the dangerous runs by sea. After Cruz is found stabbed to death, the emotional Lupe, a more volatile version of her sisters in detection, feels compelled to make the run with Barbara--her only chance of finding Michelle's mother. A hellish trip it is, too, producing a high body count but accomplishing Lupe's mission. The plot tends to ramble, and characters don't always come to life, despite the attention lavished on them, but the Cuban- AmericanCatholic background is a facet of Florida life not often explored in this genre. A talent worth watching.