Walla Walla Suite (A Room with No View)
Ballantine, Sep 2007, $12.95
After her husband Connor dumped her for his younger office assistant, Quinn left Spokane to start over in Seattle. The retired police officer becomes a private investigator though her caseload is slim to none except for what mitigation investigator Vincent Ainge sends her way. In the building where they both work is a poster for a missing eighteen year old woman Eileen Jones who also worked there. Unable to resist and besides needing to cool down from her latest hot flashes, Quinn visits the place where Eileen was working when she vanished, Promotion in Motion. She sees four desks three occupied by young beautiful women. She asks a few questions when the owner Arnie Stimick steps inside and asks who she is. She explains and they chat; he hires her to find Eileen.
Quinn visits Eileen’s roommate Darla, but the missing girl’s boyfriend Guy is there too. Both say Eileen is a great person with no enemies. Quinn next visits Eileen’s divorced mom Abby, whose ex-husband lives in Hawaii. Abby looks like she has not slept in ages, but offers nothing new as she insists her daughter had no enemies. Quinn learns they have found Eileen’s corpse. She visits an upset Arnie who retains her to find the killer. Not long afterward police sergeant Beckham announces they caught the killer, Randy Merck who was driving Eileen’s car. Arnie says Merck must be properly punished so he forms the Friends of Eileen, whose presence will be seen everyday by the jurors while Public Defender Wendy Maron hires Vincent to serve as the mitigation investigator if they lose and Quinn to investigate as needed.
This is a well-written legal thriller with a fascinating refreshing angle that of the mitigation investigator. His investigation is top rate due to the mighty Quinn struggling to make it as a private investigator. However, it is Vincent Ainge the mitigation expert who steals the show. Anne Argula provides a fresh spin to the sub-genre.