Baltimore P.I. Tess Monaghan is bored by the tedium of her surveillance work. Watching philandering husbands talking to hookers isnt thrilling. A more exciting case comes up when she receives mail containing a photo of her former lover, Crow. Under Crows picture are the words In Big Trouble. Tess and her faithful dog Esskay set out for Charlottesville, VA to talk to Crows family.

Crow had a most unusual home life. Tess learns although his family hasnt heard from him in a while, they know hes is in San Antonio. Tess heads there and learns the photo is only a publicity stunt for Crows new band.

Tess has a nasty habit of tripping over corpses, and this one Crow is suspected of killing. Although the San Antonio police consider Tess a nuisance, she is determined to investigate. She discovers a tangled mess combining the music industry and the private miseries of some very wealthy people.

IN BIG TROUBLE is a fast-paced, breezy P.I. novel. Wise-cracking Tess is a delight to read about. The story has just the right amount of poignancy to touch even the hardest heart. (Sep., 352 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg