This is Kijewski's breakout book, lifting her from midlist author to the front ranks, right up there with that other smartmouthed-p.i. specialist, Sue Grafton. Was Deidre Durkin the victim of an anonymous mugger or did someone purposely make it look that way? Deidre's godfather hires Sacramento p.i. Kat Colorado (Kat's Cradle, p. 79, etc.) to find out, and Kat, as ``Kate Collins,'' is soon working behind the bar at the Pioneer Hotel in Grass Valley that Deidre owned with her husband, Matt--who had had an affair with the waitress and is now casting an eye on Kat/Kate. Things heat up when Kat realizes that Deidre married her sister's boyfriend and later had an affair with her sister's husband, Stu, just to spite poor Chivogny; that Stu may have fathered Deidre's son, Toby; and that Matt was not unaware of all this. Moreover, Deidre's New Age chum Luna is slugged; Toby is shoved down a hillside; and someone seems to be sizing up Kat for a hospital bed. Many drinks will be poured, psychological layers delved into, and family secrets revealed before Kat makes sense of Deidre's life and death. Except for irritating chapter headings (a Kijewski hallmark), a strong contender for best mystery of the year from a former bartender who, here, uses her background superbly.