Detective to the stars Toby Peters (To Catch a Spy, 2002, etc.) finds a client tougher than he is when he investigates the death of his officemate’s wife.
Joan Crawford isn’t going to lie for anyone, so it’s a shame she’s the sole witness when dentist Sheldon Minck’s faithless wife Mildred is shot with a crossbow bolt just yards from where Shelley is practicing the techniques he’s learned, sort of, from survivalist Lawrence Timerjack. But she’d rather not testify at all, since the publicity might cost her the lead in Mildred Pierce. So Toby agrees to help shield her from the press, hoping that getting close to the case will help him clear Shelly. He gets unexpected help from his brother Phil, whose anger-management issues intensify as his wife Ruth succumbs to cancer, and expected grief from John Cawelti, a detective with a grudge against Phil. He gets the usual misguided advice from his loopy landlady, Mrs. Plaut, and the usual aid and comfort from his girlfriend Anita. And he gets tailed, shot with a blowgun, lured into traps, and blown up as he discovers that Pathfinder Anthony, Pathfinder Lewis, and Deerslayer Helter—Timerjack’s fellow Survivors for the Future—are interested in their survival, not his. But Crawford never blinks, fending off threats of exposure from Cawelti and of destruction by the Survivors as she waits for her next close-up.
More somber than Toby’s usual antic fare, perhaps out of respect for Ruth.