Title: The Cadger's Curse
Working over Christmas isn't all bad. For insurance investigator D. D. McGil, who lost her fiancé two years ago, a routine job offers welcome distraction. But who could guess that running employee background checks at Hi-Data, a major software company in Chicago's Silicon Valley, would lead to three dead bodies, counterfeit money, and a killer on her tail?
The electrocuted corpse of a Hi-Data partner, who just happens to be her ex-brother-in-law, is only the first nasty surprise in this deadly web of corporate treachery. Is it possible that her aunt's newfound Robert Burns discovery—a literary treasure worth millions if authenticated—is somehow connected?
Relying on her own tools of the trade and the preternatural fact-finding skills of her antiquarian bookseller friend, D. D. slowly pieces together a sordid case of high tech villainy, which turns out to be shockingly linked to her fiancé's mysterious death.
Madsen's promising debut, the first in a new cozy series set in Chicago, introduces DD McGil, a 38-year-old freelance insurance investigator and former English professor who's a whiz at breaking and entering. Two days before Christmas, a case takes DD to a computer company, HI-Data, where she stumbles on the corpse of Ken Gordon, a partner at HI-Data who happens to be the half brother of DD's late fiancé, who apparently jumped to his death from a high balcony. Since DD despised Ken, she fears the police will suspect her of murder. Meanwhile, DD's Aunt Elizabeth (aka the Scottish Dragon) arrives for the holidays with what she claims is a rare Robert Burns manuscript. Tom Joyce, DD's antiquarian bookseller friend, offers to help with research into the manuscript. Well-drawn characters and a suspenseful plot will leave readers looking forward to the next installment. (Nov.)