Jenny Cain, the author's energetic, emotionally vulnerable heroine (Generous Death, etc.), ex-director of a charitable foundation in Port Frederick, Massachusetts, has lost her New York friend Carol Margolis, killed by a street mugger. Carol worked for the Hart Foundation, and now her boss wants Jenny to take over Carol's projects--an idea not happily received by Jenny's policeman husband Geof. Arriving in New York, Jenny stays in Carol's apartment, in a building full of aging eccentrics, run by Jed Goodman, 19-year-old son of the loony landlady. She meets Carol's separated husband Steve, an unprosperous musician whose Brooklyn in-laws are certain he arranged Carol's demise. Steve wants Jenny to plead his innocence to them, but that's only the start of her problems. Carol had left behind a series of unresolved Foundation tangles--heavy donor Malcolm Lloyd, threatening to sue for return of his money; a theater group waiting penniless for their inexplicably overdue grant check; and an illiteracy program run by overwrought Frenchman Andrei Bolen in the dankest of slums. Jenny takes it all on--alternating between fear of the city and its weirdos and exhilaration at its vibrant pace and inexhaustible wonders--until Carol's murderer is unmasked and other matters are resolved, including her own future career. Robust, funny, touching, and engrossing all the way: Pickard peaks here.