Taos, New Mexico, gearing up for the revelry of Las Fiestas, suddenly has more con artists and killers than tourists. The night clubby attorney Iggy Baca arranges to meet pretty Cyndi, a clerk at the about-to-be-opened El Museo—a gallery bankrolled by suave, handsome newcomer Evelyn Bottoms—she never shows, and is soon found adrift in the Rio Grande with a bullet hole piercing her delectable body. But her co-worker Bobby won't be grieving, because he's lying dead on the gallery's exhibition floor. Former lawyer, would-be writer, and current B&B owner Christina Garcia y Grant and her tenant, ex-Florida widower Dr. Mac McCloud, bypass most of Christy's law-enforcement relatives to snoop around the galleries and soon enough find two more bodies: bankrupt gallery owners Spunk and Horse, victims of ricin poisoning. Then Virginia Warren quits researching Spanish religious artifacts for the Archdiocese because she's killed too, and Jerome Kelly, her former employer, casts doubt on the bona fides of Bottoms, who arrived awfully soon after the theft of some prized church treasures. Meanwhile, Christy's Mamacita and her truckload of relatives drop by the B&B for partying, leaving a little B&E to Iggy and Mac, who almost succumb before the books are closed on many—though by no means all—of the unsolved robberies, murders, and other festivities.
Ulmer (Midnight at the Camposanta, not reviewed) describes Taos with all the panache of a chamber-of-commerce brochure, and the bustling characters are two dimensions short of reality. The highlight may be the appended Spanish-to-English glossary.