A legal-procedural-cum-mystery featuring a sexual-harassment scam linked to murder at a Midwest hospital.
First-time mother Karen Hayes returns to her job as in-house legal counsel for Shoreview Memorial Hospital with mixed emotions and without her usual intense focus on work. Her husband Jake, a laid-back jazz musician, is not proving to be the most conscientious stay-at-home father for their baby McKinley, who’s named after a blues great. So, after 14 comfortable years at Shoreview, Karen contemplates joining a thriving private practice, where she’ll have more respect, support—and money. Meantime, Shoreview faces a dire legal crisis: the death of patient Lorraine Winslow, apparently a case of medical negligence. The attending doctor failed to note Lorraine’s allergies and/or inadvertently removed her medical bracelet. Complicating matters is the fact that Lorraine’s husband Arthur is Shoreview’s CEO. Complicating them further is Arthur’s implication in a current sexual-harassment case (i.e., scam) engineered by hard-drinking Hiaasenesque lowlife Duane Billick and carried out by his gorgeous but not very willing wife Shari. Karen turns sleuth to unravel the complicated criminal tangle with help from Jake and her father Gene, terminally ill but invigorated by playing Watson to his daughter’s Holmes.
In her sophomore series entry, Biehl (Doctored Evidence, 2002) offers a fuzzy and sometimes implausible mystery but deepens the portrait of his heroine and her demanding life.