Farrell (Cony-Catching, 1970) now has a New York p.i. dodging bullets in Boston--all in order to find out why the lady who hired him was murdered before she got to explain his assignment. Duncan Ames has come to Boston to look after his ex-wife after her near-fatal automobile accident. Even as he is pacing the hospital waiting room, his services are solicited by flamboyant bookkeeper Dorothy O'Hare, whose daughter Carol is the surgeon patching up Mrs. Ames. Mrs. O'Hare only hints at her fears, but Duncan agrees to see her as soon as he gets his wife settled in. Alas, by the time he gets to Dorothy's house, Dorothy has been dropped in her soup by an assassin. It turns out that she, along with the ambitious Iranian chiropractor whose books she kept, had been receiving nasty anonymous notes from someone signing himself ""The American Satan."" Ames starts his investigation by rooting around the ultraright, gun-toting fringe groups but draws a blank--and the search turns to the late Dorothy's real-estate dealings. It looks very much as if she was fronting for her daughter's estranged, homosexual husband, a lawyer who appears to have been looting an estate or two. And then it turns out that the site of the Iranian chiropractor's new pain-relief superstore was purchased at a price that was too good to be true. At least the doctor-daughter who has been sending out ever-stronger pheromones is straight. Surely she is. . . Routine investigation.