Linda Grant. Random Access Murder (1988) 186 pp. [pbo]
San Francisco private investigator Catherine Sayler specializes in corporate security, investigating white-collar crimes. When her lover Peter Harman—an ex-hippie and another PI, of the decidedly more blue-collar type—is arrested for the murder of a beautiful secretary in Palo Alto, Catherine is convinced he has been framed. Peter had been tailing the husband of an old friend, trying to figure out if he was cheating on her. The dead woman was one of the husband’s mistresses; the husband is the head of a computer company. In order to prove Peter’s innocence, Catherine has to discover the real killer. With the reluctant assistance of her ex-husband Dan Walker—a homicide cop with the SFPD—Catherine and her staff pick up the trail, which leads her to the familiar territory of the high-tech computer industry, corporate secrets, and blackmail. It also leads her to the less familiar territory of hired thugs and killers. Catherine, who holds a black belt in aikido, finds that she needs all of her skills in order to discover the truth and stay in one piece.