When black St. Louis p.i. Clio Browne accepts the $10,000 retainer from uppity Serena Scutter-Paschal, she figures it's easy money: just get Serena's son Wally to return his mom's museum-quality emerald ring. The complication? Wally gave it to his wife Angel Moon--and she's been hacked to death with a meat cleaver on her bed, and her ring finger's missing. Whodunit? Clio glimpsed a man in a pin-stripe suit wearing sneakers that made a peculiar clicking sound. Soon, a batch of pin-stripes cross her path: Serena's lawyer Tom Earnshaw, whom Angel did secretarial work for part-time (she also doubled as a waitress at the Belle Cette, owned by drug-thug Dowling and two partners); Earnshaw's partner, criminal lawyer George Slake, who at one time was Angel's lover; Serena's ""chauffeur,"" ex-con Ralph Baker; and even Wally, who's on the lam and holing up in Clio's mom's house (to Clio's dismay). Meanwhile, another Belle Cette waitress is killed with a cleaver, and a third is hospitalized, same M.O. Sorting through the skulduggery, Clio, her young secretary, and the girl's bike-riding beau add up clues--and chase the evil-doer to the Moonlight Ramble bike ride, where he gets his comeuppance. Funny in spots, mostly when Clio's mom is around, but there are unconvincing red herrings--and too many by half. Still, a serviceable debut for legal secretary Komo.