While his girl friend Angie Amalfi is inundated with family and history, San Francisco Homicide Inspector Paavo Smith is short on both. This lack of knowledge regarding his family has always troubled Paavo, especially since the death of his older sister Jessica. Aulis Kokkonen, the foster father who raised them, always told Paavo that their mother was an alcoholic who abandoned him. While Paavo wants to know more about his past, hes never pushed for details. The past, however, is about to come looking for him.

When Angie accidentally damages the lovely brooch that Paavo gave her for Christmas, shes horrified, because she knows it was the only item he had of his mothers. So Angie races around town looking for a jeweler to fix the unique piece. She discovers from a Russian jeweler that the stones are real and the profile is that of a Czarina. Shortly thereafter, the jeweler is murdered, and elderly Aulis is shot. What did Angie unleash when she revealed the existence of the brooch? Paavo and Angie must now unlock decades of lies and secrets to uncover the truth about Paavos parents.

Paavo finally gets his story and Joanne Pence outdoes herself with this intricate and intriguing novel. This is without a doubt Ms. Pences greatest book to date. A winner! (Nov., 312 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith