A ""person of substance"" is what Alicia Madrone's ad calls for, and a person of substance is what she gets: full-figured Josephine Fuller, who's got just the right attitude (and enough of it) to work as an undercover cop filing reports on prospective recipients for Mrs. Madrone's feminist philanthropy. But the real action comes on one of Josephine's rare days off, when she arrives for a visit with her old friend, Nine West, of Luna Moth Fashions, to find Nine with her throat horribly cut and a notice posted in blood on the bathroom mirror: ""KILL THE WHALES."" The manifesto seems to link Nina's death to the slayings of four previous queen-sized victims, a serial killer the Seattle police have dubbed Captain Ahab. But Josephine wonders if the killer might be a copycat trading on Ahab's notoriety to make a grab for Nina's inheritance--until she finds out that she herself is the principal legatee, along with a mysterioso called William Turnbow Crain. Venturing to enigmatic Crain's alleged home in remote Twila, Washington, at the will's urging, Josephine succeeds only in provoking another murder, even as suspects--ranging from a preacher/pornographer out of Nina's colorful past to the Viking bachelor in her basement--are multiplying like the pounds insensitive diet gum Andrew Stack is urging Josephine to check into one of his franchises to shed. Josephine's solid detective work is marred by too generous a use of coincidence in the murder plot. Maybe next time, if Murray (Termination Interview, 1988, etc.) shows her heroine actually on the job, she'll have a case more worthy of her talents.