Because Noodles, the missing wonder dog, might not be missing anymore, Zen Moses, Santa Monica p.i., finds herself on —a stakeout for a [expletive] dog.” The gig came to her from an old and trusted friend, her lawyer Jim Gray, but from the first it makes Zen nervous. She can’t help feeling she’s been sent barking up the wrong tree, that the dog caper is a blind, that Jim is holding back. Something has him worried—deeply and personally worried—but since he won’t tell her what it is, she can’t be the help she’d very much like to be. Naturally, the doggy stakeout becomes a prelude to disaster, and before the long night is over, Zen is slugged, mugged, drugged, and hospitalized, awaking as a leading suspect in a murder case. From there, things get really complicated. For Jim is a suspect in the same murder—of a man they both detested. Eddie Cooke was evil incarnate, and it’s true many had reasons to wish him ill. Only Jim, however, was discovered next to his lifeless body. And Jim, comatose after a brutal beating, can’t furnish the Santa Monica Police with an explanations. Zen rallies to his rescue, her determined investigation soon propelling her to the City of Angels on the track of Marcy Cooke, Eddie’s TV-star widow, who’s about as angelic as her late husband. In her second outing (Zen and the Art of Murder, 1998), Moses is smart, tough, feisty, and hard to distinguish from dozens of her sister shamuses.