When you’re a freelance writer eternally between jobs, what could be more innocuous than helping a friend rehab her house?
Upon retiring from the Wyandotte PD, Det. Erma Porrocks buys herself a shopworn little house on Detroit’s slender waterfront. She offers Lillian Byrd $15 an hour to help strip the walls and floors in preparation for the expert rehabbers. Naturally, Lillian turns around and subcontracts half the job to a street person she knows as Drooly Rick, for $7.50. It’s a bad decision all around. Erma ends up disappointed that her friend would make such a secret deal, Lillian ends up mortified and grieved and Drooly Rick ends up dead. Did he stumble into Erma’s boathouse dead drunk and drown there, or did he have help? When Erma’s former colleagues on the force shrug off his death as no big deal, Lillian looks more closely at the demolition work he’d been doing and sees that Erma’s house is a veritable treasure trove. With the help of Erma’s foxy neighbor Audrey Knox, who seems just as hot for Lillian as vice versa, Lillian gets on the trail of the gold squirreled away in her old friend’s walls. The results are violent (more casualties loom) and hilarious, as Lillian spouts balderdash in lieu of interrogation.
Though she’s working without much of a plot, Lillian (Lucky Stiff, 2004, etc.) is a true original.