Lesbian p.i. Sydney Sloane uneasily juggles two cases, both with a close personal connection.
Interior decorator Leslie Washburn has such misgivings about her mother Dorothy’s impending marriage that she wants Sydney’s operative Miguel Leigh to investigate silver-haired lothario Harold Hardy, but she’d rather not share all this with Sydney. Stung by her lover’s reluctance to level with her, Sydney tells Miguel to start digging anyway—just as a major crisis erupts across town. NYPD Capt. John Cannady, the husband of Sydney’s old friend Peggy, has been shot, and hours after Peggy leaves the hospital where he’s fighting for his life, she gets a blustering phone call from the son she gave up for adoption after she was raped as a teenager. Has the boy Peggy hasn’t seen since the day he was born returned from her past to shoot her husband, and is he planning an even worse sequel? As Sydney and her partner, Max Cabe, rush to help Peggy, Miguel’s reports about Dorothy’s beau start coming in, and they’re not the stuff of Modern Bride. Harold has been married five times, and four of his wives have died under suspicious circumstances. Once again, as so often with Sydney (East of Niece, 2001, etc.), family values are no bed of roses.
Lordon skillfully keeps up the tension, though the two puzzles—one underclued, the other unguessable—wind down too long before her story winds up.