A retired insurance adjuster is called back to solve just one more case.
International Surety turned Hobart Lindsey out to pasture early. But when one of the quirky cases he specialized in turns up, his former boss bullies him into lending a hand. A publishing company and the widow of a murdered man are suing a publisher that International insures, claiming that The Ruby Red Pup is a copy of the dead man’s last book, The Emerald Cat, with the names changed. Since the proof exists only as a file on the dead man’s stolen laptop, Lindsey puts all his efforts into tracking it down. The police are also interested since the computer may be the murder weapon—used, they think, by a panicky street person who was sleeping in the victim’s car. Lindsey has his own reasons for pleasure in his return to Berkeley. He still has warm feelings for Marvia Plum, the African-American police officer he’d worked with on past cases (The Radio Red Killer, 1997, etc.). Clever thinking and judicious bribery produce results as Lindsey follows the path of the missing laptop, from the man who sold the manuscript to the publisher, through flea markets and pawn shops. He won’t give up until he finds what he needs to close his case and catch a killer.
The last in Lupoff’s Lindsey and Plum series reveals whodunit early on. It really doesn’t matter, for the sterling tale is complex and packed with well-developed characters.