Since their dogs are already such good friends, it’s no surprise that Karen Tacete and her daughter Lily turn to crossword constructor Belle Graham and her p.i. husband Rosco Polycrates for help when her husband vanishes.
Because Dan Tacete shares a thriving dental practice with Jack Wagner, he can afford to collect expensive cars. But he’s driving nothing more glamorous than a Ford Explorer when he goes missing. Upon receiving a ransom note, Karen refuses to let Rosco inform the police until a body is found in a more stylish burnt-out Corvette. The dental records say it’s Dan; the ME says it was an accident. But there are clearly deeper waters here. Dan’s partner had been unhappy with his pro bono work; the office receptionist had been having an affair with one of them; now her drug addict brother disappears, along with a bartender from his neighborhood hangout; even Karen begins acting strangely. Meanwhile, Rosco (A Crossworder’s Holiday, 2002, etc.) is investigating a hot car ring and the hit-and-run death of a child, all of which amazingly turn out to be connected. Eventually, with the help of Rosco’s former police connections and a series of clues embedded in crossword puzzles sent to Belle, they solve the intertwined cases.
Catnip for crossword fans who’ll enjoy the six included puzzles—and for anyone else who can overlook the convoluted, improbable mystery.