Futuristic detective Lt. Eve Dallas (Memory in Death, Jan. 2006, etc.) won’t have to face the worst fate imaginable—coaching her old friend Mavis Freestone through childbirth—till she’s wrapped up a pair of less harrowing cases.
Convinced something’s wrong with the books of her firm, accountant Natalie Copperfield has told her fiancé Bick Byson, a money manager at SMK. The sad result: Hours after Natalie is tortured and strangled at her apartment, so is Bick, clearly by the same hand. Who’s behind the trouble that killed the lovebird whistleblowers? All three partners in the firm, Jacob Sloan, Carl Myers and Robert Kraus, expressing obligatory indignation, offer gold-plated alibis. Founder Sloan spent the evening with his namesake grandson and Jake’s girlfriend. His son Randall, Jake’s father, was with cosmetics queens Sasha Zinka and Lola Warfield. Myers was with top-drawer bootmakers Karl and Elise Helbringer. And Kraus, a partner for a mere decade, was with pharmaceuticals widow Madeline Bullock, of the Bullock Foundation, and her son Winfield Chase. The alibi witnesses form such a tight interlocking directorate with SMK, Eve muses, that it would be both convenient and logical if the killer came from their ranks. Before she can pursue her hunch, however, she has to deal with two complications: Her boss heats up her domestic life by warning her of the dire consequences should any of SMK’s records fall into the hands of Eve’s husband, megabucks financier Roarke; and Tandy Willowby, a British friend of Mavis’s who’s equally heavy with child, doesn’t turn up for Mavis’s baby shower, an event she’d never miss. Could Tandy’s disappearance possibly be connected to the double murder over at SMK?
Sex, childbirth, cyborg servants, a dollop of fast-moving mystery and a fraud so complex that Eve will need Roarke to get to the bottom of it. The biggest pleasure, though, is watching Eve, an obvious charm-school dropout, get in suspects’ faces.