Book 23 in the In Death series, published November 2006.
Technology has advanced in 2060 New York City, but childbirth has been the same since the beginning of time. And despite the brutal double homicide on Lieutenant Eve Dallas’ caseload, she has to be there for her pregnant friend Mavis, even if it means throwing the dreaded baby shower.
But Mavis needs an even bigger favor now. Tandy Willowby, one of the moms-to-be in her birthing class, has gone missing, just days before her due date – not even showing up at the shower that Eve and Roarke’s place that she has been looking forward to so much. A recent emigrant from London, Tandy has few friends in New York, and no family. When Eve enters Tandy’s apartment and finds Mavis’s shower gift wrapped and ready on the table – And Tandy’s birthing bag still on the floor – her spine starts tingling.
Normally, this would be turned over to missing persons. Eve has more than enough on her plate trying to find out who murdered Nathalie Copperfield and her fiancé, both employed at a highly prestigious accounting firm. But Mavis wants no one but Eve on the case, and Eve cannot say no. She’ll have to track Tandy down while tracing the deals and double-crosses hidden in the files of some of the city’s richest and most secretive citizens, in a race against a particularly vicious killer. Luckily she has her multimillionaire husband Roarke’s expertise to help with the number-crunching. But as he mines for the crucial data that will break the case wide open, Eve faces an all-too-real danger in the flesh-and- blood world.
To their mutual horror, Eve and Roarke have to go to birthing class with Mavis. As they agreed to be her birthing coaches in case Leonardo cannot do it, they have to know what will happen and what their roles are. And so they end up watching a vid of childbirth, learn how to coach Mavis with her breathing and stuff. After that class, they don’t know how fast to escape all those happy pregnant women, and take Mavis and Leonardo and their friend Tandy out to dinner. And then there is the baby shower she is throwing for Mavis. Luckily, Peabody helps her with the planning and decorating.
The next morning Eve and Peabody catch a new case. A young, soon to be married accountant is found tortured and murdered in her own apartment. Her sister, who would spend the night with her, found her. And when they go to break the news to the fiancée, Bick Byson, who was sleeping in the apartment they were renovating, he is murdered as well. When Eve and Peabody can’t find any motive in their private lives, it has to be something Nathalie came across at work. Especially when she has made some cryptic link messages with Bick about whatever she discovered. About needing a bit more information before going to the police, or the media.
So Eve needs to get all the files of all the clients Nathalie was working on. Ofcourse, the accounting firm’s lawyers delay her warrant giving the murderer or an associate the time to doctor Nathalie’s files. But with the help of her husband Roarke and the E-detectives, she will get to the bottom of it all.
When Tandy goes missing, and Mavis begs her to find her, and not give the case to Missing Persons, Eve is stretching herself very tin. When she finds like crimes in Europe, she gets a sniff of the horrible truth. Pregnant woman snatched from the street for their babies. Babies which are then sold to rich adoption parents for a high fee. And somehow, her two cases are linked together. As she finds Tandy just in time, still pregnant and holding on, she will be able to close both cases and put some real monsters in a cage.
I really enjoyed this book, even for the second time. I totally relate to the horror Eve and Roarke must feel about having to witness birth, and help with it. It is not something I will ever do, no matter how good the friend I am. There are boundaries people!
But the case, wow, that was a good one. And it is a horror to think it might really happen.
The interaction between all the cast is great as usual, and Mavis goes over the top. Getting married to her Leonardo, while giving birth. And Nadine gets her own real time crime show, and nets Eve as her first guest.