When the Twin Cities are rocked by the “crime of the century,” Holland Taylor is the one PI who’d rather not be right in the thick of it. Still wounded by the long-ago death of his wife and daughter, Taylor does (delete “simple”) background checks and other simple cases with no interest in more challenging work. But almost by accident what should have been an easy job becomes something much more far-reaching and dangerous.
Eleanor Barrington, the doyenne of a socially prominent family of great wealth, has been arrested for the murder of young woman. Emily Denys was her son’s fiancé and Barrington made no secret of her disdain for the victim, convinced that she was trying to take advantage of her son and her family.
Holland Taylor had been brought in to do a full background check on Emily, only to discover that her name and her background were all fabricated. Before he could learn more, she was murdered—shot in the head outside her apartment.
Barrington had been overheard threatening her son’s fiancé and an eyewitness claims to have seen her kill Emily. But that’s not the worst of it. Barrington’s own son has even worse accusations to make against her. And the family, which has a long history in the area, is involved in a controversial business development that has all sides heated.
Caught in the dark tangle of a twisted family and haunted by his own past, Holland Taylor returns in the first new novel in this award winning, critically acclaimed series in almost twenty years. And what Taylor finds is that the truth remains elusive, frequently expensive and quite often fatal.
"In Edgar-winner Housewright’s welcome fourth outing for St. Paul, Minn., PI Holland Taylor, last seen in 1999’s Dearly Departed, Holland tries to clear wealthy client Eleanor Barrington of fatally shooting Emily Denys, who was dating her son, Joel. The evidence is against Eleanor: she threatened to kill Emily, who was struck by a bullet from a nine-millimeter handgun, a weapon that Eleanor purchased years before, though it’s now missing. Complications follow. Joel accuses his mother of the murder and of sexually abusing him; a neighbor claims that she saw Eleanor shoot Emily in the head; and the identity of the victim, whose past is shrouded in mystery, comes into question. A connection between Emily’s murder and that of the mayor of Arona, Wis., puts Holland on a trail that involves a fracking company and a group of right-wing extremists. Meanwhile, Holland has to deal with Devon, Eleanor’s volatile 16-year-old daughter, who seems to have a crush on him. The knots are many and messy, and Holland shows he has the wit and character to untangle them"
"Housewright resurrects an appealingly troubled, self-tormenting hero who assures himself, “you’re the most pathetic human being alive,” even as he’s dodging bullets, decking assailants, making nice to his neighbor’s 11-year-old daughter, and coming up with a solution as dark as the mystery."