A woman he doesn’t know names Dek Elstrom executor of her will.
Dek’s life has taken a dismal turn. He’s recently divorced, and his investigating career has tanked. Broke and dispirited, he expects little change in his luck when lawyer Aggert telephones him to inform him that the late Louise Thomas has made him her executor. “How much would that cost me?” asks Dek, an indication of how far south of optimism he’s drifted. On learning of a $700 executor’s fee, he swiftly agrees to meet with the attorney. But he’s puzzled by the fact that the name Louise Thomas means nothing to him. It’s a mystery that deepens, unsettlingly, when he discovers that she was murdered during a break-in. Then, on her desk, he finds the hard-used, dilapidated relic of a manual typewriter that shifts his perspective forcefully. A long time ago Dek loved and lost a girl who owned the clone of that ancient machine. Could it possibly be the same one? If it is, Dek knows he has more than a straightforward, albeit perplexing, mystery to solve. He has a mission.
The prose is polished, the plotting deft and dotted with sneaky surprises. And Dek, likable in his debut (A Safe Place for Dying, 2006), is even more engaging here.