Husband-and-wife team Kirsten and Dugan, of Wild Onion, Ltd., have their work cut out for them as they find themselves once again locked in battle with venture capitalists with a taste for paving forests into shopping mall parking lots. Their present adversary, John Michael Hurley, is as connected as he is ruthless, with a reputation for making his opponents drop their opposition—or drop out of sight. So he’d seem more than a match for Eudora Ragsdale, a black single mom who worked her way out of the Chicago projects and into lower-middle-class respectability as treasurer of suburban Miracle City’s Committee to Rescue Emerald Woods (CREW). And sure enough, as support builds for Eudora and her fellow environmentalists, scary things start to happen: threatening phone calls, the disappearance from Eudora’s house of $2,000 in donations to CREW, and ultimately, Eudora’s arrest. Dugan puts his legal prowess to work fighting the bogus charges, and Kirsten trains her detective skill on finding the real culprit. But the field is large in this small town, where the corrupt mayor and smarmy Police Chief Frawley are both too cozy with the developers to help in the investigation—even when a fire that destroys Eudora’s grandmother’s home at the edge of Emerald Woods reveals a corpse hidden in the cellar.
This time out, environment-conscious Walker recycles too many motifs from Wild Onion’s last case (A Beer in a Bawdy House, 1999) to give its witty and unconventional partners the adventure they deserve.