In Kansas City in 1938, Doria Lennox is an operative working for private investigator Amos Haddam, an expatriate Brit who took a lungful of mustard gas in World War I. Her first solo operation seems to go bust when she sees the woman she's tailing jump off a bridge, but something's not right: the client wants her to keep looking into the woman's life. At the same time, the case that her boss leaves unfinished when his lung condition worsens and he is hospitalized blows up in Dorie's face when a stranger breaks into her room to deliver a warning she doesn't understand.
A while back I read a similar book, This Dame for Hire by Sandra Scoppetone, about a woman who takes over her boss's private investigation agency when he goes off to the war. This book, the first of a series by Lise McClendon, is set a little earlier, when the war is just beginning in Europe. I liked this one a little better. Scoppetone's book is told in first person, and the forties slang didn't entirely ring true. McClendon has some trouble with abrupt POV shifts, but the tone is a little more genuine.
I can see Faye Quick, from This Dame for Hire, being played by Ginger Rogers. For Dorie Lennox they'd need someone more like Barbara Stanwyck.
Originally posted at MySpace on 2/23/06