Private investigator Kinsey Millhone, the author's tough, tenacious, California-based heroine, has taken on a freelance job for her ex-employer, California Fidelity Insurance. One of their agents, on vacation in a small Mexican hotel, is sure he recognized Wendell Jaffe, a hotshot businessman who'd vanished from his boat at sea years before, leaving behind a suicide note, a clutch of cheated investors, a penniless wife, two young sons, and a partner, Carl Eckert, who wound up in jail. Five years later, just a few months ago, with Jaffe now officially dead, wife Dana had collected a half million from Fidelity. They'd like it back.... Kinsey flies to Mexico and finds her quarry, who's now living with a woman named Renata and is calling himself Dean DeWitt Huff--and who disappears again almost at once. Kinsey's certain the recent widely reported criminal acts of his son Brian have pulled Jaffe back to the US. In California, Kinsey's on the trail again--talking to Dana, to Carl Eckert, now out of jail, to police detectives involved in the original investigation, and to Renata, who, it turns out, owns a waterfront house near Kinsey's home base of Santa Teresa. Even as she chases clues in the present, chunks of Kinsey's own family history intrude, threatening her hard-won loner persona. Jaffe surfaces for the last time in the slightly hokey finale. A tangled, rambling story that's constantly in motion but generates little passion, heat, or tension. Solidly readable but minus the compelling edge of Grafton's best.