- Date: May 15, 1988
- Type: Book
The fifth "Alphabet" mystery novel opens just after Christmas, with Kinsey discovering that five thousand dollars has mysteriously been credited to her bank account, and flashes back a few days when she was asked to investigate a fire claim at a factory in Colgate as part of her informal office space rental arrangement with California Fidelity Insurance. The business in question, Wood/Warren, is owned and operated by the Wood family, whom Kinsey has known on a personal level since high school. Company founder Linden Wood is dead, but his son Lance now runs the company, and his four other children, Ebony, Olive, Ash and Bass all have a stake. Ash is Kinsey's former schoolmate, and Bass was an acquaintance of her second ex-husband, Daniel Wade. Olive is married to Terry Kohler, Lance's second-in-command at the company. After a solitary Christmas, with Henry away visiting relatives, and Rosie's Tavern shut down till the new year, Kinsey writes off the fire as an industrial accident, but upon submitting her report to her boss, she finds that significant papers have been removed from the file and others substituted, giving an appearance that Lance Wood has bribed Kinsey not to label the fire as arson. In the middle of protesting her innocence, the five thousand dollar credit takes on a sinister significance.