A new boss spells trouble for socialite-turned-reporter Nora Blackbird (No Way to Kill a Lady, 2012, etc.).
Aussie expatriate Gus Hardwicke knows how to sell papers. He’s turning the Philadelphia Intelligencer into a National Inquirer wannabe, dragging the names of Philly’s rich and famous through the mud. And he wants help from Nora Blackbird, whose blue-blood lineage gives her access to all those A-listers. At first, she’s willing to probe the stabbing of 60-something fashion designer Swain Starr on the farm he and his second wife, a supermodel named Zephyr, hoped to make a model of organics. After all, Nora’s sister Libby’s eldest, Rawlins, is questioned by the police just because his abandoned car has been found near the crime scene. But Nora soon learns the social consequences of her snoop-and-tell. She also learns that Gus’ interest in her is not entirely platonic. It’s not clear why the hunky Australian would mess with someone who shares a bed with mobbed-up Michael Abruzzo, but mess with Nora he does. And Gus’ advances are one more mess Nora definitely does not need, distracted as she is by caring for her gracious but decaying family farm, riding herd on her two ditzy sisters and, of course, trying to locate her lost pig, Ralphie. It takes a night in the slammer, a barn fire and the appearance at Blackbird Farm of Noah, the infant Nora thought her sister, Emma, gave up for adoption, to solidify Nora’s position as Philadelphia’s patron saint of lost causes.
Martin’s ninth Blackbird sisters entry pushes the envelope over a cliff.