Psychologist and police consultant Dr. Alex Delaware tries to find a missing girl stuck in the middle of a complex child custody case. As a psychologist who often tackles child custody cases, Dr. Alex Delaware is acustomed to unusual custody battles. But few have been as odd as the one involving baby Rambla. Constance Sykes, a successful and very type "A" doctor, is suing her sister Connie for custody of Connie baby girl. Constance claims Connie abandoned her and is not a fit mother. But after interviewing both women, Alex recommends to the court that Connie retain custody. That decision leads Constance to visit Alex and threaten to kill him. Which makes it awkward when Constance ends up dead and Connie and Rambla are missing.
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Dr. Delaware also consults for the L.A. Police and as a result he gets drawn into the search for Constance's killer and the location of Connie and her baby. Connie was a part-time member of a band that covered classic Southern rock tunes and two of her fellow bandmates were rumored to be Rambla's father. That rumor seems to be more likely when lead singer/guitarist Winky also goes missing and seems to have disappeared the same time as Connie. Connie is the police department's lead suspect, but everyone Alex speaks with insists she is way too nice to even consider such a crime.
The story is complicated by the fact that the judge of the custody case was also threatened and seems to be more concerned with bad press than finding Connie or catching a killer. It isn't until Alex calls the judge's office and speaks to one of her clerks that he realizes another clerk just quit under mysterious circumstances. When Alex talks to her, he gets suspicious and realizes that the clerk had been involved in an earlier child abduction case. The LAPD begin connecting facts and when Alex and police detective Milo visits the clerk's home, they discover Connie and the baby tied up and hidden in a specially designed garage prison cell. The clerk and her family wanted Connie's baby and seemed to be willing to do anything, since they were convinced Connie was an unfit mother. Connie and Rambla are freed and everything is well with the world.
Best part of story, including ending:
The story has some surprise twists and turns. Despite a few very vague clues along the way, the identity of the bad guys was a complete surprise.
Best scene in story:
The scenes in which Dr. Alex Delaware spoke with his patients was really well-written. It was fascinating to see how he could draw the truth out of people who weren't really interested in sharing it with anyone.
Opinion about the main character:
Dr. Delaware seems very comfortable in his skin - he knows he strengths and weaknessess and is happy where he is in life. Given that, it makes his character a joy to read.