Berkley, March 2003, 7.99, 368 pp.
The summer of 2059 in New York City is brutally hot but Eve Dallas, a lieutenant in the New York Police and Security Department, is ecstatically happy. Her butler Summerset is taking a three-week vacation, which is expected to feel like a bit of R&R to Eve. Her joy quickly dissipates when Roarke's friend and majordomo trips over the cat and breaks his leg and shatters his shoulder. Her day gets even worse when she's called out on a brutal homicide and the victim is an innocent angelic girl who does not have an enemy in the world.
Eve's husband Roarke learns news about his family and is distracted enough to withdraw from his wife and friend. Much to Eve's surprise she misses her husband's help especially when a second victim is found and it is obviously the work of the same perpetrator. Just before a third homicide occurs, Roarke goes to Ireland to get some answers and Eve follows him. When they return, they work together to bring the killer to justice. However, before they can find him, he grabs one of their own.
J.D. Robb has written her usual superb romantic police procedural but PORTRAIT IN DEATH varies from the other works in the series in two important ways. Roarke is given news that devastates his usual high level of confidence making him vulnerable. Eve finally has the hang of being a wife and gives him the emotional support he needs though at the cost of the investigation. The who-done-it is exciting of course though the culprit is someone to be pitied (as long as the victims are not from your family).
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner