Future cop Eve Dallas (Born in Death, Nov. 2006, etc.) returns to investigate the murder of a popular history teacher and deal with an unexpected threat to her marriage.
Two students discover the vomit-covered corpse of 26-year-old Craig Foster in his classroom at one of New York’s toniest private schools. He’s been done in by hot chocolate laced with ricin, a choice of poison that betrays a cold, calculating killer who intended the victim to suffer. But why? Craig was admired by students and faculty alike, madly in love with his beautiful wife and apparently free of enemies. Eve theorizes that he might have been silenced for knowing too much about the after-school shenanigans of faculty Lothario Reed Williams, who dallied with teachers and parents alike. Then Reed is drowned in the school pool, leaving several possible culprits, but still no motives or patterns that satisfy Lieutenant Dallas. When Eve’s gut leads her to the least likely of perps, she faces an uphill battle to convince her colleagues before the killer strikes again. Her cop instincts are also triggered by the arrival of Magdelana Percell, a knockout blonde from hubby Roarke’s larcenous past. Eve can tell from a split-second glance he gives “Maggie” that she once meant something to him, a discovery that prompts jealous brooding and uncharacteristic insecurity in the tough-talking heroine. Indeed, Magdelana is an unreformed con artist keen to pick up where she left off with Roarke, who can’t see at first that he’s being played. That leaves Eve to not only solve the case, but to make it home in time for a Valentine’s Day dinner to sort out differences with her soulmate.
Roarke and Eve remain an appealing pair, and Eve’s flashes of vulnerability contrast nicely with her no-nonsense approach to work. Occasionally, though, Robb’s New-York-in-2060 gimmick draws undue attention to itself.