Rushmore McKenzie’s 15th case begins when he agrees to babysit a young woman he’s saved from death and then goes downhill from there.
Think the drivers who flank your own commute are rude? That’s because you’ve never had a pickup truck cut you off on a snowy freeway, open its tailgate, and disgorge a female body directly in your path. McKenzie pulls over handily, saving the woman’s life, though not averting a 37-car pileup that totals his Audi. As if in partial recompense, Cmdr. Bobby Dunston of the St. Paul Police Department asks McKenzie to shelter the amnesiac victim, Unidentified Woman #15, in the new condo he shares with restaurateur Nina Truhler and protect her from whomever failed to kill her the first time. It’s an irresistible setup, and it produces some appealing low-level byplay between the knight errant (The Devil May Care, 2014, etc.) and the fair damsel before McKenzie drops a name that puts the wind up in his Jane Doe and she skedaddles. McKenzie goes after her, of course, and swiftly links her to a group of students who left bucolic Deer River for the Twin Cities and got themselves into some serious trouble. The trouble includes, in order of appearance, homicide, burglary, and unauthorized tag sales. The tag sales are a nice touch, and it’s a treat to accompany McKenzie to the Mall of America, where he spends a day buying $24,000 worth of stuff he offers at half price to a pair of hapless fences whose luck is about to get worse.
Even so, the first movement is by far the most interesting part of this otherwise routine tale.