It looks like an insultingly routine task for the unemployed Irregulars who usually pull tail jobs for Leo Waterman: digging up the grounds around the 12-room palace the shamus inherited from his father, veteran Seattle politico Wild Bill Waterman. But when one of them uncovers the one-handed skeleton of Peerless Price, the red-baiting columnist who’d vanished 30 years ago in the middle of a well-publicized feud with Wild Bill over dueling Fourth of July parades, Leo’s off and running on his most personal quest yet: to vindicate his old man in the face of the media firestorm Price’s family is sure to kindle. The problem isn’t that Price had no other enemies; the phone book is brimful of likely candidates. But each of Price’s pet peeves in the days before he disappeared back in 1969—a gay bar he was determined to get raided, the tide of illegal Asian immigrants he was convinced were linked the Red Menace, and of course the antiwar parade he was rabid to scuttle’seem to lead straight back to Wild Bill, miring him still deeper in the legacy of Seattle’s nastiest secrets. Besides, reasons Leo, how could anybody else possibly have buried Peerless’s distinctive corpse in his old enemy’s yard without the homeowner knowing something about it? Though Leo’s flat-footing is flat, his fifth (Slow Burn, 1998, etc.) fills out the obligatory return-to-the-gumshoe’s-roots entry with an appealing warmth and a couple of nifty surprises.