In Berkeley, California -- the nation's tenth-most-congested city and home to homicide detective Jill Smith -- someone has received one parking ticket too many. An anonymous campaign of pranks has been launched in an effort to humiliate Elgin Tiress, the city's pitiless and widely disliked Parking Enforcement Director. Meter maids throughout the city are furious; citizens, naturally, are delighted. Only the police see the danger inherent in these escalating attacks. Jill sets out to track down the perpetrator, knowing all too well the sometimes deadly consequences of practical jokes. She learns of a possible witness to one of the pranks -- Madeleine Riordan, a much-feared local attorney now dying of cancer at the Canyonview nursing home. Madeleine may have seen something -- or someone -- that will lead to an arrest. She agrees to one brief interview and promises a second. But when Jill returns for her statement, she finds Madeleine dead. Was she set up to find the corpse? Was it a pain-ending suicide or did Madeleine suspect that someone was trying to kill her? Perhaps the utterly principled, seemingly passionless lawyer was planning on having Jill find something else -- something that ended Madeleine's plans for good. In her eighth Jill Smith mystery, Susan Dunlap once again displays her characteristic blend of wit, intelligence. and authenticity, and combines it with a sober, disturbing crime that puts her among the top ranks of mystery authors today.
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