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Sweetie Fairbairn, the doyenne of Chicago society, is known for big-hearted philanthropy and magnificent soirees in her penthouse high atop one of the city’s premier boutique hotels. Dek Elstrom is hired by a mysterious man in a long limousine to investigate the death of a clown. Was it suicide—or murder? What is the connection between the dead clown and Sweetie?
An extortion letter arrives at Crystal Waters, one of Chicago’s wealthiest gated communities. It makes no specific threats, gives no instructions, demands only that $50,000 be gotten ready—chump change for an enclave where the cheapest house is worth three million. It’s easy to see it as harmless—a note from a nut.
Then a mansion explodes. The homeowners panic, and want it hushed up. If word gets out that a bomber is targeting Crystal Waters, their multimillion-dollar homes will become worthless, a last catastrophe for people strung out from living the good life too well. They hire Dek Elstrom to investigate.
Dek Elstrom used to soar high, too, when he lived with his multimillionaire wife at Crystal Waters, but that was before the dominos of his life tipped over and his ex-wife threw him out. Now reduced to living in a crumbling stone turret, bankrupt of…[more]