Jane Wheel, who brakes for yard sales, garage sales, and even interesting-looking curbside trash, can hardly believe her good luck: a whole room at the Bateman estate sale devoted to paraphernalia from the owners’ Shangri-La tavern! What a find, particularly since her parents Don and Nellie can use it all in their own tavern, the EZ Way. Well, maybe not everything. When Jane carts the contents of the magic room home, she discovers a severed finger bouncing around in a jar. And her father absolutely refuses to have any of the vintage punchboards, remnants of a harmless gambling pastime from the ’50s, in the EZ Way, though he declines to explain why. Nothing daunted, Jane tucks the finger away, asks her pal Bruce Oh, an ex-police detective, to help identify it, and hauls the punchboards over to the McFlea, the show house being assembled by Tim, a friend since kindergarten, and the drollest gay man since Paul Lynde. But then the EZ Way’s former landlord, Gus Duncan, dies, and, gosh, his finger is almost severed too. And Jane, who’s almost as good at finding bodies as at finding Bakelite buttons (Killer Stuff, 2001), discovers Lilly Duff, a second-generation tavern owner, dead in a basement room in one of Duncan’s houses while every single intact finger points ominously at prowling Bateman womenfolk.
Hilarious stuff, worth reading cover to cover if only for the outrageous joke on page 57.