Beverly Danziger looked like an expensive, carefully wrapped package from a good but conservative shop. Only her compulsive chatter hinted at the nervousness beneath her cool surface. It was a nervousness out of all proportion to the problem she placed before Kinsey Millhone. There was an absent sister. A will to be settled—a matter of only a few thousand dollars. Mrs. Danziger did not look as if she needed a few thousand dollars. And she didn't seem like someone longing for a family reunion.
Still, business was slow, and even a private investigator has bills to pay. Millhone took the job. It looked routine.
Elaine Boldt's wrappings were a good deal flashier than her sister's, but they signaled the same thing: The lady had money. A rich widow in her early forties, she owned a condo in Boca Raton and another in Santa Teresa. According to the manager of the California building, she was last seen draped in her $12,000 lynx coat heading for Boca Raton. According to the manager of the Florida building, she never got there. But someone else had and she was camping out illegally in Mrs. Boldt's apartment. The job was beginning to seem a bit less routine.
It turned tricky when Beverly Danziger ordered Millhone to drop the case and it took on an ominous quality when Aubrey Danziger surfaced, making all kinds of wild accusations about his wife. But it only became sinister when Millhone learned that just days before Elaine Boldt went missing, her next-door neighbor and bridge partner had been murdered and the killer was still at large.
A house destroyed by arson. A brutally murdered a woman. A missing lynx coat. An apartment burgled of valueless papers, another ransacked in a melée of mindless destruction. And more murder. As Millhone digs deeper into the case, she finds herself in a nightmarish hall of mirrors in which reality is distorted by illusion and nothing—except danger—is quite what it seems.