Curiosity leads a sleuthing physician to a grumpy, gun-toting printer.
While she’s off on a bike ride, Dr. Jo Banks hears the sounds of a printing press coming from an old barn. Nostalgic about the good times she had working with her printer father, she opens the barn door and steps into trouble. The printer, Max, eager to hustle her out, catches his hand in the press. When Jo tries to rush him to the hospital, he pulls a gun and insists that she repair his hand in his home. With Max’s mentally challenged daughter Lolly for an assistant and a houseful of cats for spectators, Jo operates on the kitchen table. Afterwards, she doesn’t turn secretive Max in to the police even though a gunshot victim has been found nearby. Instead she builds a relationship with Lolly and Max, formerly the popular magician “Max the Amazing.” His wife once worked with him, but he claims she longed for the carefree days before Lolly was born and deserted them after accidentally killing a woman whose pocket she was picking. Jo’s attempts to solve Max’s problems will have her talking her way out of cement boots when she’s picked up by some Mafiosi; tiptoeing around a police investigation; and seriously neglecting her boyfriend Tom.
Although Jo (Satan’s Pony, 2004, etc.) is an engaging sleuth, it’s hard to swallow some of the zany story lines.