Kelli Stanley. City of Ghosts (2014) 326 pp.
Miranda Corbie is back—packing heat, and still smoking too many Chesterfields. It is June 1940 and the U.S. is starting to pay more attention to what Hitler is doing in Europe. Miranda gets drawn into the fray when James MacLeod, an agent from the State Department, asks her to investigate a University of California chemistry professor suspected of passing secrets to the Nazis. The government is clearly using Miranda to do a dirty job that they don’t want to do themselves, and they are very clear that if anything goes wrong, she’ll be on her own. But, she takes the job anyway, mostly because of the promise of a ticket to England, where Miranda believes she will find her mother. As she gets closer to the professor, Dr. Huntington Jasper, she uncovers his connections to a network of dealers and collectors trading in art treasures looted by the Germans, especially in entartete Kunst, paintings deemed “degenerate” by the Nazis. Then the bodies start to pile up and Miranda is the prime suspect. With her best friend, Rick Sanders, now enlisted in the navy and MacLeod refusing to take her calls, Miranda is on her own to find the killer and prove her innocence.
Setting: San Francisco (1940)