Marcia Muller. There’s Nothing To Be Afraid Of (1985) 200 pp.
Private eye Sharon McCone is hired by a group of Vietnamese refugees, led by the Vang family, living in the shabby, residential Globe Hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin to investigate a series of disturbing events taking place in the hotel. Children are being frightened in stairwells, the heat and electricity are being tampered with, and someone has destroyed the Christmas tree in the lobby. At first, Sharon suspects the hotel’s owner of trying to drive the residents away so that he can sell the building (something that he has been unable to do because of tenants occupying the rent-controlled building). But, the list of suspects soon expands to include Sallie Hyde, one of the Globe’s residents who was convicted of murder and served out her sentence, Otis Knox, the owner of a nearby adult theater, Brother Harry, a manic street preacher, and Harry’s nemesis, Jimmy, a homeless, mentally-ill poetry lover. Sharon’s investigation gets serious when one of the teen-aged Vietnamese residents is found in the boiler room with his skull bashed in and the eldest Vang son, Duc, goes missing.
Setting: San Francisco (Tenderloin)