Dafina, Dec 2004, 6.99, 304 pp.
Sam Trahan's grandmother Ma Louise is dying, but asks for one final request: to recover a stolen family heirloom, The Black Madonna, worth 3 million, which was painted by an ancestor. Milton Alexander, who worked for Trahan's firm, stole the painting, but private investigators have failed to come up with his whereabouts. Unhappy with their results, Sam decides to take charge by visiting the thief's former girl friend Zora Redwood in Brooklyn.
Sam believes that Zora helped Milton with the theft. Believing she knows where the rogue is hiding he blackmails her into helping him in his quest to get to Milton by threatening to bring her to the police as an accessory as she has proof she had the painting in her apartment. Though she joins him on his quest heading to the Caribbean island of Jamaica, neither trusts the other. However, as they work together to find Milton and the masterpiece, Zora and Sam fall in love, but although danger mounts as their lives are in peril from Milton and his allies, distrust between the duo remains high.
The romance between the reluctant partners seems more an afterthought as the fine amateur sleuth chase takes center stage.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner