Kinsey Millhone (R Is for Ricochet, 2004, etc.) is pulled into the ancient case of the bad-girl wife and mother who ran off without her man and without a trace.
On the evening of July 4, 1953, Violet Sullivan celebrated her independence by blowing a kiss to her daughter Daisy, 7, and her babysitter, Liza Mellincamp, and driving off in the new Chevrolet Bel Air that her alcoholic, frequently abusive husband Foley had just bought her. Ever since that day, Daisy has never been able to trust anyone or to put her life back together. Now, 34 years later, she and her friend Tannie Ottweiler ask Kinsey to track down Violet and her car. Wanting to ensure that she won’t drag out what seems like a hopeless case, Kinsey agrees to limit her investigation to five days. But it takes her only four days of chatting up Violet’s friends and enemies in Serena Station—her ex-landlord Tom Padgett, Liza and her childhood buddy Kathy Cramer, Kathy’s car-dealer father Chet and his salesman Winston Smith, Tannie’s father Jake—to find out what happened to Violet. Given the passions Daisy’s mother stirred among everyone who crossed her path, it’s quite a tribute to Kinsey that she needs only that fifth day to wrap the case up tight.
Score another triumph for Kinsey. Grafton brings every corner of Serena Station, past and present, more deeply alive than your own hometown.