Los Angeles, 1908. Anna Blanc is a former so-so socialite, a flailing police matron, and a killer detective.
Ex-heiress, Anna Blanc, is precariously employed by the Los Angeles Police Department, reforming delinquent children and minding lady jailbirds. What she really wants is to hunt criminals and be alone with Detective Joe Singer--both no-nos that could get her fired. On a lover's tryst in Griffith Park, Anna and Joe discover the body of a young gambler. Anna can't resist. She's on the case. As her murder investigation stalls, and her police matron duties start piling up, strange floral arrangements begin arriving from an unknown admirer. Following the petals leads Anna to another crime--one close to home. Suddenly pitted against Joe, Anna must examine her loyalties and solve the crimes, even if it means losing the man she loves.
Set in 1908 Los Angeles, Kincheloe's effervescent third Anna Blanc mystery (after 2017's The Woman in the Camphor Trunk) finds the socialite turned police matron still smitten with police detective Joe Singer, whom department regulations forbid her to date. Never one to follow the rules, Anna is trysting with Joe in Griffith Park when they discover a dead man, Samuel Grayson, in the bushes. Though matrons have no investigative authority, Anna talks her way into a surreptitious role on the case. Samuel was a gambler whose bank accounts show large payments from an unknown source and whose former girlfriend lives in the Jonquil Apartments, the site of a suspected prostitution ring. Anna and Joe's relationship grows more serious and more physical as the story progresses, but tensions flare when she's contacted by Georges Devereaux, a half-brother she didn't know existed. Anna welcomes this new sibling warmly, but Joe suspects that Georges is not what he claims to be. Kincheloe's vibrant comic voice, quirky characters, and intricate, fast-paced plotting sparkle with lighthearted energy. Yet the novel doesn't neglect deeper themes, most notably the limited choices available to women in early 20th-century America. Kinchloe remains a writer to watch.