Making the weekend garage-sale circuit in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her friend, small-time collectibles dealer Joyce McCarthy, Anneke Haagen--owner of a thriving computer service--finds Joanna Westlake, bludgeoned and near death, whose last words are ``the Jap.'' Joyce's antiques co-op has a Japanese member, and the group fears the police will scapegoat Ellen Nakamura for the killing. Anneke, who's done computer work at the precinct, agrees to help Ellen if she can, a decision that brings the single mother of grown daughters into close contact with attractive, low-key police lieutenant Karl Genesko, who thinks Joanna was killed for something she'd bought that morning. Solution and motivation are a bit feeble here, but characterization is strong. The author has a knowing touch with Anneke's romance, a tight handle on the computer lore, and an unassuming, good-humored style well-suited to her exploration of a familiar facet of Americana. Ingratiating fare from a welcome newcomer, winner of the 1993 Best First Malice Domestic Novel Contest.