Sussex seacoast p.i. Jordan Lacey (Spin and Die, 2002, etc.) graduates from recovering lost tortoises to trapping lying lovers and cross-dressing spouses.
While waiting for brooding DI James to return her affections, Jordan takes on some paying clients. Gill Frazer wonders why her clothes keep going missing, while Phil Cannon wants to prove, without benefit of DNA, that Dwain, the juvenile delinquent whose child support he’s been paying for 12 years, isn’t his. Soon enough, Jordan tracks Gill’s husband Brian to a jazz concert at Palmer Gardens, where, attired in a fetching pink ball gown, he sings two numbers along with the band before he’s electrocuted by a live mike. The murder gets her within kissing distance of James, as do various other escapades: getting in the middle of a bar fight while plying Nesta Simons with enough vodka to make her come clean about Dwain’s paternity, serving a summons on a fence who imprisons her in a bedroom with a mastiff standing guard, and munching a hemlock-garnished salad in the nursing home where she’s recovering from her ordeal. But none of her adventures get Jordan the interest she wants, so, tired and discouraged, she agrees to a vacation with attentive, persistent DS Ben Evans—a holiday that’s supposed to be platonic, though you never know.
Although Jordan’s still quirky and unconventional, romance finally overtakes mystery in Whitelaw’s meandering fourth.