Stephen Greenleaf. Grave Error (1979) 249 pp.
John Marshall Tanner is 50 years old and has been a private investigator in San Francisco for twelve years. He is an ex-lawyer and doesn’t do divorce cases. He reluctantly takes the case when Jacqueline Nelson comes in to his office asking him to find out why her husband, Roland—a famous consumer advocate—has been acting mysteriously, disappearing for several days at a time and drawing large sums of cash out of his business account. Tanner is about to drop the case when it takes a sudden, very personal turn—one of his best friends, another PI named Harry Spring, is found murdered in a small San Joaquin Valley town while working for the Nelsons’ daughter, Claire. As Tanner tries to figure out who killed Spring and why, he finds himself on a trail of long-buried secrets, frustrated passions, and revenge.