Charles Alverson. Not Sleeping, Just Dead (1977) 207 pp.
San Francisco private eye Joe Goodey is hired to investigate the mysterious death of a young woman, Katie Pierce, at a commune, called The Institute, near Big Sur, in Monterey County. Katie’s grandfather, Frederick Melhuish Crenshaw, is not satisfied when his granddaughter’s death is ruled an accident—she fell from the roof of a building on The Institute’s property—and he asks Goodey to prove that someone gave her a push. The Institute is presided over by the charismatic Hugo Fischer, who has seemingly absolute power over The Institute’s residents. When J.B. Carter, the eccentric millionaire who owns the property, is found dead at the bottom of a cliff, Carter’s widow, Emma, hires Goodey to investigate her husband’s death. Are the two deaths connected? Are the residents of The Institute all nuts? Will Goodey allow himself to be seduced by a frustrated young bride? Will he even get out of The Institute alive?
Setting: San Francisco; Monterey County