Mad Jack Hazard, Pinkerton's most valuable agent, has crossed the line in his battle with alcohol, but is determined to close his last case before giving up completely.
The case is Chloe Von Drosteb, the beautiful and evil jewel thief who knows all of Jack's weaknesses and has used them to destroy him. To bring her down, Jack needs a pretend wife.
Amid the Pinkerton secretaries, all of whose hearts the handsome agent sets aflutter, Jack spots the glitter of light off the glasses of the most invisible woman in the office, Anna Matlin, and selects her for the job.
Anna has made herself as unobtrusive as possible because she finds safety in invisibility, but her assignment as Jack's "wife" brings out aspects of her character she has never explored. In the face of Jack's need, she finds strength and daring. When Jack looks into the sapphire blue eye behind Anna's glasses, he's startled to find hope, and in Jack's lost eyes, Anna discovers dreams.
Mary McBride has a gift for distilling tragedy into triumph. If you haven't discovered this talented jewel, take a chance on Mad Jack Hazard. You can't lose. SENSUAL (July, 280 pp., $4.99)