Sharon McCone, one of San Francisco’s busiest, feistiest shamuses tackles her 23rd case.
It’s been a banner year for McCone Investigations (Dead Midnight, 2002, etc.) until trainee p.i. Julia Rafael is handcuffed and jailed for credit-card fraud. Out to prove her innocent of brandishing Alex Aguilar’s plastic at better mail-order establishments everywhere, McCone gets both a new incentive and a new obstacle when the regulatory board, holding McCone responsible for her operative’s behavior, considers suspending her license and shutting down her agency. Julia insists that she’s too small a fish to command such a complex frame-up. So McCone and her office gang ask instead who has it in for the boss. At length they find ties between Aguilar, that respected Latino do-gooder and potential mayoral candidate, and the wildly vengeful R.D., the drug nabob McCone sent away long years ago. Three will die, two more will be shot at, and McCone herself will respond to a creepy “Knives at midnight” ultimatum before McCone Investigations and all its employees are safe to roam the darker streets of northern California and the boss can finally say yes to the question her lover Hy Ripinsky has asked her at least a hundred times.
One of Muller’s better efforts, with a bonus for cat fanciers in need of step-by-step instructions on caring for a diabetic feline.