Depression-era private investigator Maggie Sullivan risks losing her P.I. license — and her life — when two spinsters hire her to learn the fate of their father, who vanished twenty-six years earlier. She’s barely started when her main suspect commits suicide and Maggie is summoned before the powerful chief of police. A stroke of his pen will revoke her license, and he warns her he’s getting complaints about her from City Hall.
With her livelihood on the line, fortified by a nip of gin and her .38, the intrepid detective follows a trail all but obliterated by time and the catastrophic Dayton flood of 1913 in which the vanished man went missing. It leads her to a local politician with bigger ambitions — and possibly secrets to hide. It takes her into dime stores, cheap hotels, and a violent ambush by men wearing brass knuckles.
As a cop wages a wily campaign to win her affections, and a rag-tag newsboy pushes to become her assistant, crimes of the past explode in the present. Maggie fights to survive foes who must destroy her to destroy each other.
Fans of strong women sleuths and historical atmosphere have dubbed this tough little private investigator “Sam Spade in a skirt.”