Kinsey is still clueless about Dow’s disappearance. She has talked to other people, but nothing is clear. Penelope Delacorte, who worked in the clinic as an administrator, resigned when accusations of fraud were hurled at the bookkeeper, Tina Bart. She thought it was unfair as Tina only kept the books, so when Tina was fired, Penelope couldn’t stay. Another person Kinsey talks to is Trigg, Dow’s best friend. He tells her that the other two times that Dow went missing he went to a dry-out clinic, and when Kinsey suggests he might have done the same now, Trigg refuses to believe it, because now he hasn’t told anybody, and on those two occasions he told him. Trigg also tells him that Dow was a bit stressed because Fiona kept pressurising, thinking that he might get back together with her and that was as far from the truth as it was possible. Actually, the night he went missing, he had arranged to meet Fiona to discuss the matter.
Fiona returns from her trip to San Francisco, and Kinsey tells her what she has learnt. The woman is quite overbearing, and Kinsey threatens to leave the case if she is this difficult, and Fiona even apologises. Fiona is quite upset when she learns that Kinsey went to see her daughter Blanche. I wonder why that is. She also tells Kinsey that it is true that Dow was supposed to come and see her that night, but he never arrived.
Kinsey wants to talk to Lloyd, Crystal’s ex-husband. Trigg told him that he resented Dow for having turned his life inside out. Apparently, Crystal left him when she met Dow. Crystal and Lloyd’s relationship has always been quite explosive, with loud fights, even involving the police. Now Lloyd and Crystal keep seeing each other because of Leila, Crystal’s daughter. Leila is not Lloyd’s daughter, but his stepdaughter, but Lloyd is the only father Leila has known. Apparently, Lloyd also resented Dow because he didn’t like the way he was with Leila and the education she had in that private school she is in.
Kinsey tries to find Lloyd, but at the address she has she is told that Lloyd hasn’t lived there for a while since he didn’t pay and the woman evicted him. From that visit Kinsey learns that Paulie, who Leila mentioned when she was in the house, is Lloyd’s landlady’s granddaughter, but Crystal stopped her seeing the girl because she thought she was too wild.
When Kinsey goes to see Crystal to get Lloyd’s new address, she finds a crisis there. Leila has walked out of the school that morning, and nobody knows where she is. Crystal is incensed, and Kinsey suggests she and Nica, the school counsellor, could call her friends’ parents while she can check on Lloyd. So Crystal gives her the man’s address. I have the hunch that this is important, and all this about Leila, Lloyd, and Paulie might have something to do with Dow’s disappearance. I don’t know how, but I think it might be important.
A subplot in the novel is Kinsey trying to find a new place for her office. Her current landlord is moving somewhere else, so Kinsey needs to find new headquarters. She sees an advertisement which sounds ideal, and she calls and meets the owners. They are two brothers, Tommy and Richard Hevener. The place seems ideal, and she wants it. Tommy, who from the first she finds attractive despite his being much younger than her, starts flirting with her, and when he asks her to have a drink with him, she accepts. They meet and enjoy dinner together, and Tommy even shows her the house he and Tommy live in. Kinsey tries to resist Tommy’s flirtatious attacks, but at the end of the night she has to admit to herself that she likes him very much.
Then the following day a woman is waiting for her at her office. Her name is Mariah Talbot, and she works for an insurance company. What she wants to talk to her about is the Hevener brothers. Apparently, they are suspected of killing his parents two years ago. Their mother had inherited good money and jewels, and a common criminal sneaked into the house, gagged and tied Mr and Mrs Hevener, took the jewels and the money, and set the house on fire. The two parents died of smoke inhalation. The police suspected the two boys, but there was not enough evidence. The common criminal disappeared, and Mariah thinks that the two brothers must have killed him. Now the arsonist who helped them has come forwards and told the insurance company about his implication. What Mariah wants is for Kinsey to help her and try to find the location of a safe where the jewels supposedly are. Kinsey is not sure she wants any part of it, but what she knows is that any attraction she felt for Tommy is now gone.
I think that Kinsey will eventually agree to help Mariah even though it is very risky. We know that Kinsey puts herself in dangerous situations more often than not, and I bet that she is going to do the same now.