Teddy Ruzak, who’s changed the name of his agency from the Highly Effective Detection & Investigation Company to Research & Analysis Group, LLC, to avoid legal trouble, finds himself awash in it anyway.
Katrina Bates just knows that her husband is cheating on her. Although Tom Bates has everything—a fat inheritance, a facility with languages and musical instruments, a chair in mathematics at the University of Tennessee—he always wants more. The ways to confirm her suspicion that he’s bedding coed Kinsey Brock may seem limited, but Teddy (The Highly Effective Detective Goes to the Dogs, 2008, etc.) comes up with a new one. He phones Tom, tells him of Kat’s suspicions and urges him to confess. Kat rages at Teddy, fires him and then vanishes shortly after smooth-talking Dresden Falks, an agent of her husband’s detective agency, pays Teddy $20,000 for the Bates file, which Teddy has made seem worth the price by salting it with a single piece of disinformation that seems innocuous but isn’t. As if her disappearance doesn’t spell trouble enough, state bureaucrat Walter Hinton, unimpressed by his agency’s new name, is still after Teddy for practicing without a p.i. license, and his super wants to evict him for keeping a dog in his apartment. Complications ensue, most of them having little to do with the forgettable mystery.
Teddy, whose relentlessly logical patter utterly fulfills his observation that “I lack the internal editing function most people take for granted,” is the anti-Spenser—unmasculine, weak, klutzy and hilariously garrulous.