The new Diana Poole crime thriller takes our amateur sleuth deep into Southern California's underworld to uncover the mystery of a diamond-encrusted scorpion—and the reason for the murders that follow in its wake.
Diana Poole’s last movie was a flop, but she earned enough money to fix up her Malibu house. One afternoon standing outside it, she sees a woman across the highway waving at her. Diana doesn’t recognize her. Still waving, the woman walks into the oncoming cars and is killed instantly. Why would anyone do that?
The next night, while still horrified by the accident, Diana is held at gunpoint by a man demanding the dead woman’s scorpion. What kind of scorpion? A live one? A brooch? A pendant? Diana searches the accident scene and finds a diamond-encrusted object in the shape of a scorpion. Breathless, she remembers her movie star mother showing it to her the last time she saw her alive.
Did the woman who was waving at her want her to see it? Was the woman’s death really an accident? Why did the gunman want the scorpion? Did her mother really die of natural causes? Could it have been murder?
With the diamond-encrusted object as her only clue, Diana goes on a heart-pounding journey determined to find answers. But asking a lot of questions can upset people. Especially the unpredictable killer who is stalking her.
Early in Edgar-finalist Howe's atmospheric but addled sequel to 2013's City of Mirrors, Hollywood actress Diana Poole spots a strange woman waving at her outside her Malibu bungalow, then walking into the speeding Pacific Coast Highway traffic, with fatal results. The following day, a witness to the tragedy tries to pump Diana for information at gunpoint, demanding to know the whereabouts of a scorpion. Since the only scorpion Diana knows is a diamond-encrusted vintage bracelet given by a mysterious admirer to her late mother, screen siren Nora Poole, and missing since Nora's death the previous year, she can't resist investigating further. Threats start coming from multiple quarters, including the pricey drug rehab facility from which it turns out the dead woman ran away. Diana and hunky PI Leo Heath, her now off-again love interest, must contend with motley players chasing the scorpion a sly tip of the fedora to The Maltese Falcon? as the fast-moving plot careens wildly toward a truly preposterous conclusion.