1965. Archer is called in to investigate the background of a newcomer to the exclusive beachside community of Montevista. A tough guy Frenchie has stolen the fiance of a rich local boy who wants his beauty back.
Archer’s investigation takes a detour from the start when he bumps shoulders with another snoop whom he witnesses getting muscled by their mutual target, getting his expensive camera trampled to bits, then getting threatened by a handgun through the Bentley window. Frenchie obviously values his privacy and he’s willing to kill for it.
A seven-year old suicide, a secretive but gossipy community of established types, and the inevitable host of parvenus drawn to the smell of money lead Archer along a winding path of discovery. Lives unravel, murders pile up, until all is revealed in the final paragraph.
Archer’s observations and commentary make this a smart tale of ugly choices.