(Fifth in the Carlotta Carlyle series)
St. Martin's Minotaur
Every Friday a child's snapshot arrives at the Boston office of P.I. Carlotta Carlyle. There's no note. No return address. Just pictures of the child as a newborn, as a toddler, as a preschooler. Maybe Carlotta should have tossed them all in the trash. Maybe then she wouldn't have gotten mixed up again...in murder.
Discovering what happened to the child in the photos draws Carlotta into a shattered picture of private lives sadly out of focus — and big shots mixed up with deadly conspiracy that stretches from a New England hospital to the Third World. And when she finds her own
little sister from the Boston Big Sisters program in a different kind of danger, the truth jumps out in harsh black and white. In a world filled with killers and innocence, Carlotta Carlyle may be the only avenging angel left....
Publishers Weekly, April 19, 1993
In the ever-increasing crowd of admirable female PIs, Boston-based Carlotta Carlyle is a stand-out and not just for her red hair and 6'1" frame. Self-possessed and confident, she's also short-tempered, restless and skeptical. On a referral from a neighboring psychiatrist, Carlotta is hired by Emily Woodrow, a distraught suburbanite whose sever-year-old daughter has recently died of leukemia at a local hospital. Emily suspects her daughter's death may not have been inevitable, but she disappears before sending Carlotta some promised evidence. At the same time, 11-year-old Paolina, Carlotta's Colombian "sister" in the Big Sisters Organization, begins to hang around with a thug in his mid-20's. Following a twisted trail, accompanied by an abundance of quirky, recognizable characters, Carlotta takes on the hospital's smugly authoritarian medical staff, uncovering a decidedly un-Hippocratic scheme, and tries to prevent Paolina from leaving the country to search for her drug-baron father. Barnes (Coyote; Steel Guitar) adroitly connects the two plot lines in a nifty final turn. BOMC featured alternate; QPB selection; author tour. (June)
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1993
A new, multilayered case for Boston-based P.I. Carlotta Carlyle (Steel Guitar, 1991, etc.), this one starting with a series of photographs of a little girl sent to her anonymously. It becomes concrete when rich, quietly distraught Emily Woodrow, the child's mother, hires her to find out more about seven-year-old Rebecca's death, of leukemia, at JHHI Hospital, headed by world-famous Dr. Jerome Muir. Carlotta enlists the help of Keith Donovan, Emily's psychiatrist, as she begins to probe, despite her misgivings about the grief-stricken mother's ability to face reality. She finds, among other things, that Tina Sukhia, Rebecca's nurse, has left the hospital and now has a lucrative but mysterious job. Adding angst is Carlotta's semi-adopted "little sister" Paolina, who has a new, inappropriate friend and a dangerous agenda of her own. Tina's death, apparently murder, and Emily's disappearance pile on the pressure until Carlotta finally connects the tenuous lengths that add up to a murderous scam — reaching into the upper echelons of the medical establishment.
Unhackneyed dialogue, vivid characters, carefully crafted, tension-filled, never predictable plotting and the savviest, most spirited of three-dimensional heroines -Snapshot has them all. Another bull's-eye for Barnes.