Kensington, Nov 2002, 22.00, 368 pp.
It's been snowing in Syracuse for over three weeks, which means people are only going out to work and doing necessary shopping. Robin Light, the owner of the pet store Noah's Ark, is not taking in much cash which means she must find another way of paying her bills. Paul Santini, ex-cop turned private detective, knows that Robin moonlights as an unofficial sleuth. Buried with a large workload he offers Robin a case involving a missing person, which she gladly accepts.
Walter Wilcox wants Robin to track down his missing wife Janet and to notify him when she does. It isn't hard to find Janet who is staying at a friend's house in NYC but when she tries to contact her client, he doesn't pick up the phone. She returns to Syracuse to find Walter dead, tortured by someone who obviously knows how to extract information from a person. When she calls Paul, he confesses that Walter stole $250,000 from the Russian Mafia and if they want to live a long and safe life they better find it before a similar fate befalls them.
The heroine, an unlicensed private detective, does a better job tracking down missing persons and similar things than the pros and she does it in a way that makes it totally believable. Robin Light is the female equivalent of Spenser while this tough woman also allows the audience a glimpse into her heart.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner