California's formidable p.i. Kinsey Millhone ("A" Is for Alibi, etc.), fired from her comfortable berth with Fidelity Insurance, now rents office space from busy Santa Teresa lawyer Lonnie Kingman. His usual outside investigator Morley Shine has died of a heart attack, and he hires Kinsey to take over the case that Morley was working on. It involves the upcoming trial of David Barney, acquitted of the six-year-old murder of his wife, Isabelle, but now being sued for wrongful death in civil court by Isabelle's first husband, Ken Voigt. Voigt, represented by Lonnie Kingman, is sure that Barney killed Isabelle and wants to keep her considerable fortune out of his hands. Lonnie thinks he has a strong case, buoyed by damning new evidence from drifter Curtis Mclntyre. But what Kinsey finds as she begins to probe is a surprising number of people with reasons to hate Isabelle—among them Voigt's second wife, Francesca, and Isabelle's business mentor Peter Weidmann and his overprotective wife, Yolanda. She also uncovers curious gaps in Morley's files and begins to question his "heart attack," as Lonnie's seemingly solid case collapses bit by bit, with her own life on the line in the gritty finale. A sober, resolute Kinsey, romanceless at the moment, and a clever, meaty puzzle—for which the publisher plans a 300,000 first printing. Rack up another winner for Grafton.