Carmichael’s (The Seen and the Unseen, 2014, etc.) murder mystery revolves around the discovery of a dead infant at the Supreme Court of the United States.
Detetive Sgt. Saxon of D.C. Homicide gets a call from Will Hazelton, an old college buddy and officer with the Supreme Court Police. His friend has news that’s as peculiar as it is grim: The body of a dead baby girl has been found in the courthouse. There’s no conclusive evidence suggesting how the infant got there or even if she died in utero or after birth. The initial list of suspects is forbiddingly long: At least 292 people had access to the place, including nine Supreme Court justices. The body was placed in front of the chair of Justice Mariana Martinez, whose unwavering commitment to abortion-rights jurisprudence is well-known; Saxon wonders if it was meant as a political statement. Also, the baby, like Martinez, is Hispanic. Later, Saxon discovers that the justice had recently organized a group tour of 16 Cuban nationals; the cop later becomes romantically involved with one of them despite the fact that she’s only 19. Judical clerk Susan Offerman, who’s also Hispanic, is anti-abortion and is immediately considered a suspect, but Saxon suspects that the FBI is attempting to frame her. Author Carmichael takes a titillating premise and deftly turns it into a marvelous thriller. Saxon is an intriguing mess of a man whose narration and dialogue are often very funny and wryly introspective: “You might be surprised, but I’ve had nothing but positive experiences when I date murder suspects….And the women I date are almost never the actual killer.” As the story goes on, it also offers a sensitive and intelligent treatment of the issue of abortion—at one point, Saxon’s ex-fiancee plans to terminate a pregnancy—while avoiding any hint of partisan proselytizing.
A slyly provocative crime drama.