A cancer survivor fights to stay healthy while trying to keep her job as one of New York’s best detectives.
Solving the case of a murdered principal (Silent City, 2015) has made Detective Claire Codella well known at the NYPD even if she’s not highly regarded by her boss, Lt. Dennis McGowan. Julia Merchant walks into the office demanding to meet with Codella because she’s determined to get the best of the best to investigate a suspicious death. Julia’s mother, Broadway legend Lucy Merchant, has just met her untimely end at Park Manor, the convalescent home for upper crust New Yorkers. Julia, presenting video evidence that Lucy’s death may not have been from natural circumstances, is determined to have Codella investigate. Julia, it turns out, is the only one who’s interested: Lucy’s husband, Thomas Merchant, appears indifferent that she’s gone, but it’s not clear that his indifference rises to the level of suspicious. Though Codella can’t get McGowan’s go-ahead to investigate, there’s enough to justify some informal follow-up that makes her wonder whether Park Manor executive director Constance Hodges is hiding something. Codella’s distracted from giving the investigation her full attention by a screening to establish whether she’s still in good health or whether her cancer has returned, which may pose a bigger challenge than any case she’s tackled.
Readers familiar with the genre will easily be able to solve the mystery in Smith’s story, but the quick-moving plot keeps it enjoyable.