Rushmore McKenzie, who isn’t a cop any more, and isn’t a licensed investigator either, nonetheless agrees to take his 14th case for a friend of his lover’s daughter and finds himself digging up felonies past and present.
Malcolm Harris doesn’t want anybody to go to jail for his father’s murder a year ago; he just wants to know the truth about what happened. So McKenzie, who’s a pushover for his girlfriend Nina Truhler’s daughter, Erica, promises to ask questions about Frank Harris, who was stabbed in the head and dumped in New Brighton’s Long Lake Regional Park, which might have seemed to be comfortably outside Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Assessing the suspects, Detective Clark Downing assures McKenzie, “Jayne didn’t stab him, but I know she had it done.” Unfortunately, the widow can produce no less than 14 alibi witnesses, members of the New Brighton Hotdish group who were dining with her while her husband was getting killed. McKenzie, not one to take his marching orders from the local police (Stealing the Countess, 2016, etc.), soon links the Harris killing to two earlier murders, and one of them, the shooting two years ago of cosmetics heir Jonathan Szereto Jr., encourages him to look a lot more closely at the Szereto Corporation, where Harris worked as director of Human Relations. It turns out that the corporation, and its late president in particular, has been relating to its employees less than humanely, and it’s a distinct pleasure to follow McKenzie as he uncovers layer upon layer of corporate corruption, from sexual harassment to industrial espionage, while every second woman in the cast comes on to him.
The hero emerges with his virtue intact and a brace of new heads for his trophy wall. The surprising number of malefactors at the company isn’t a strength of the tale, but they’re all well worth your cathartic scorn.