An exclusive Dallas apartment complex seems an unlikely spot for a series of brutal murders.
Rebecca Cloudwebb became an antiques dealer after being invalided out of the Dallas Police Department. Her partner was killed, and her lover, who turned out to be the dirty cop behind the whole mess, vanished. Asked by antique jewelry collector Flora Melkiot to deliver a pair of earrings to her exercise class at Madame Norina’s Temple of Health, an exclusive studio in the even more exclusive Olympus House condominium, Rebecca stumbles into a murder. The newest member of the class, Laura Tyler, is killed when she drinks a glass of mineral water laced with drain cleaner. Laura, who dreamed of entering the Dallas social scene, seems an unlikely victim, since she’s just moved in and knows none of the Olympus House tenants. Each member of the exercise class has her own colored glass to drink from; Laura had chosen hers only the morning of her last drink. Flora, who fancies herself an amateur sleuth, has so little faith in the police detective sent to solve the case that she drags Rebecca into her investigation. Going on the assumption that the poison must have been meant for one of the other ladies, the salt-and-pepper duo take up the hunt, with Flora pulling her weight by supplying helpful inside information. Rebecca, who’s been considering herself a cripple and letting life pass her by, wonders if this case may just be the start of a new life.
Though mystery mavens will be quick to spot the pivotal clue needed to solve the case, the first in Patterson’s planned series offers distinct possibilities for developing several interesting characters.