V.I. Warshawski (Fallout, 2017, etc.) goes to bat for a niece of her own and a grandnephew of her best friend.
When an unidentified corpse turns up in the wilds of Cap Sauer’s Holding, Lt. McGivney of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has to grasp at straws, and his most promising straw is a piece of paper in the dead man’s pocket with Felix Herschel’s phone number. Felix, whose grandfather was the brother of obstetrician Lotty Herschel, says he doesn’t know what the man eventually identified as Elorenze Fausson was doing with his number. In the absence of any other suspects, however, McGivney remains interested, and Warshawski resolves to find evidence that exculpates him or incriminates someone else. Meantime, Harmony Seale, whose late mother was the sister of Warshawski’s long-ago husband, attorney Richard Yarborough, has come in from Portland looking for her sister, Reno, and she wants Warshawski to help. The trail of Reno, who worked for bottom-feeding payday lender Rest EZ, leads back to a getaway weekend for high-rolling executives at which she was part of the entertainment, and the closer Warshawski looks at the clues, the more it looks as if her ex is in this mess up to his neck. It would be a relief to work on the murder of Elorenze Fausson if Warshawski didn’t keep getting attacked by huge, implacable Slavic thugs—and if the two cases didn’t give uncomfortable signs of growing together in an intricately woven pattern that includes kidnapping, the theft of a priceless antiquity, an elaborate and painstakingly detailed insurance fraud, and some unlikely romance for Warshawski.
It’s pretty obvious early on who the criminal is, but that’s true in most Sherlock Holmes stories, and the knowledge doesn’t hurt any more here than there. The considerable pleasure comes from following the legendary heroine through an impenetrable maze of felonies knowing that you’re in a master’s hands.