The Highly Effective Detective solves the murder of one of the few residents of Knoxville more marginal than he is.
The state of Tennessee informs Theodore Ruzak that he’s failed the exam for his private investigator’s license, and he’ll have to close his shop. Not so fast, though: As Teddy’s moving the ferns out of his office, he spies a vagrant’s corpse in the alley outside, and now he’s got a case without a client, and therefore no legal trouble from the state. Though she’s far more attractive than Amanda, the Humane Society volunteer who throws herself at Teddy, police detective Meredith Black doesn’t care very much who killed Cadillac Jack Minor and carved the letters YHWH into his face. So Teddy, who cleared a tidy sum on his first case (The Highly Effective Detective, 2006), offers a $25,000 reward for information. The only result is a series of one-sided phone conversations with a silent caller. Since Teddy can’t persuade Black to look for the one other street person who knew Cadillac Jack, he has to dig up the pal himself—a natural progression from the Humane Society pooch Amanda has just brought him. Naturally, the police immediately arrest his witness for murder.
Warning: The detection is ramshackle and the solution almost an afterthought to the funny, sad adventures of a hero who’s less private eye than holy fool.