The search for a missing MP uncovers other felonies and blows the lid off a cover-up.
Army CID agents Ernie Bascom and George Sueño are sent to South Korea’s DMZ, 20 miles north of Seoul, to investigate the disappearance of Corporal Jill Matthewson, the first female MP ever assigned to the 2nd Division. It’s 1973, but even during a 20-year-old ceasefire, this is still considered a combat zone. From the get-go, the sneering disrespect Sueño and Bascom encounter from the entrenched military intensifies narrator Sueño’s resolve and Bascom’s desire to bust heads. MP investigators have no clues after three weeks. But Sueño and Bascom quickly learn that Jill had recently taken an apartment in Seoul, that she’s involved in some way with Korean “business girls” and, according to her roommate Anne Korvachek, that she was disgusted with the crude come-ons she got from every man in sight. The recent suicide of Private Marvin Druwood, who had a crush on Jill, is of particular interest. Nosing around in the morgue, Sueño discovers cement dust on the body of Druwood, who supposedly jumped to his death on a grassy obstacle field. As the duo follow in Jill’s footsteps, more grim revelations ensue.
Despite some repetition, Limón’s fifth Bascom/Sueño mystery (The Door to Bitterness, 2005, etc.) combines a vivid recreation of recent history with admirable local color.