While private detective and former cop Kinsey Millhone ('D' Is for Deadbeat) is investigating a possible case of industrial arson involving a company owned by the family of a former schoolmate, someone tries to make it look as if she's on the take. A mysterious $5000 appears in her bank account. She sets out to clear herself, while two or possibly more cases of murder occur, including one by bombing. A Christmas spent alone and the reappearance of her second ex-husband, Daniel, who had deserted her, add to Kinsey's depression. Grafton has an accurate, wicked eye for California lifestyle and wise-cracking Kinsey is an appealing, nonhackneyed female detective. Particularly illuminating are the descriptions of document searches, which make up much of real detective work today. This fifth entry in the series, however, is not quite up to the standards of its predecessors because the motivation for the crimes seems weak. That caveat notwithstanding, readers will be glad that further letters of the alphabet await Grafton's imagination.