In the first few Kinsey Milhone mysteries, Kinsey seems like a woman without a past. Gradually, we learn some details but by “O” in this alphabet series she still tries to avoid thinking about what went before and readers of the series know very little.
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Then Kinsey acquires a box of memorabilia. Among the school report cards, the 9mm automatic her husband gave her as a wedding gift and the notes of her early cases she finds a letter from a friend that she never opened.
The letter is a confession: the friend, Dixie, was having an affair with Kinsey's first ex-husband, Mickey Magruder. The letter also reveals that Dixie was with Mickey on the night Mickey was believed to have killed a drunk in a bar fight.
Mickey asked Kinsey to cover for him, but she refused, thinking he really was guilty. Now she must face the fact that he was innocent, and she let him take the rap.
Kinsey's quest for Mickey and the facts surrounding that 13-year-old murder bring her back into contact with old friends. She returns to the bar where they both hung out while they were married and discovers criminal activity that she must take to the federal authorities. She must also find out who shot Mickey at about the time she began looking for him.
As she comes closer to finding the killer of Mickey's alleged victim and the person who shot Mickey, Kinsey places herself in increasing danger. In the final scenes, she comes close to becoming the next victim.