Gillian Roberts. Whatever Doesn’t Kill
You (2001) 312 pp.
Private investigator Emma Howe’s hiring of young Billie August was
an act of desperation. She needed an assistant and could pay very little;
Billie needed a job and would take what she could get. But both women were
surprised to find that in spite of Billie’s inexperience and Emma’s tendency
to bully, they were slowly coming to respect each other. Now they are faced
with two cases involving more than the routine surveillance of suspected
insurance fraud perpetrators. A young man of deficient mental ability has
been accused of murdering a woman who had befriended him on their daily
jogging route. Emma has handed this case to Billie, though the evidence
against him is convincing and she has no hope that the younger woman can
come up with anything new. Emma herself takes on another case that seems
destined to lead to a dead end—a young woman who knows she is adopted wants
to find her birth mother. There’s not much hope that either investigation
will find anything helpful, but both the accused young man’s mother and
the adopted woman are eager to try, and the fees will pay the month’s rent.
The detectives are not only amazed to find that the two seemingly so-different
cases are moving closer and closer together, but that they may, indeed,
be successful in each. What they also find, almost too late, is that the
secrets they are uncovering are leading them into danger.