If you’ve just finished T is for Trespass, the latest Kinsey Millhone mystery from Sue Grafton, and wonder what to read while you’re waiting for next one, the answer is Walla Walla Suite by Anne Argula. Our heroine, Quinn, is a gritty, middle-aged ex-cop who’s suffering through raging hot flashes while she tries to start a new career as a P.I. in Seattle.
Quinn, who is now living and working in the historic Pioneer Square area of Seattle, is originally from Shenandoah, PA, which accounts for some of her colorful language and speech patterns. She gets her first work in Seattle from Vincent Ainge, whose job title "Mitigation Inspector" means that he’s hired by defense lawyers to find information about a convicted murderer’s past that might sway a jury into recommending life without parole instead of execution. Vincent is also struggling with his father’s decline into Alzheimer’s. Since Quinn’s office is right down the hall from Vincent’s in the Pioneer Building, the opportunity is there for developing a complicated personal, as well as professional relationship.
The plot involves the disappearance of a young woman who worked in their building. Quinn is hired by the missing woman’s boss, Arnie Stimick, to look for her, even though the police are on the case. Along the way, Vincent also gets entangled.
Argula’s ability to create memorable characters and a strong sense of place remind me a lot of Sue Grafton, and Quinn is a character I hope to see more of. First, I’ll be going back to Argula’s first novel featuring Quinn titled Homicide My Own. which is now on order at ICPL.