Newly married Southern California newspaper reporter Irene Kelly (seen before in Dear Irene, etc.) doesn't immediately recognize the bum on the bus stop bench who says he knows her. A few weeks later, meeting with some old friends, she learns that he was Lucas Monroe, her statistics teacher in college. That same night, she drives a friend home to find the woman's wealthy husband dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. The next day, the longtime Las Piernas city manager resigns, refusing to give a reason. While tracking that story, Irene hears that a closed circle of the city's rich and powerful men will convene in secret at a local restaurant. Dragging along her homicide detective husband, Irene crashes the rendezvous and is there when one of the men has a heart attack. She then discovers that each of the men at the meeting has been visited by Lucas and presented with a copy of a photograph. Tracing the connections among the city bigwigs, Lucas and the photograph, gutsy Irene gets to the bottom of a mystery that takes on the tangled history of a city's development. Burke is in top form here. Author tour.