V.I. Warshawski, Sara Paretsky's tough-talking, dog-loving, justice-seeking private investigator has been missing in action since 1994, when she ratted out a big city political scandal on the streets of Chicago in Tunnel Vision. But now our Vic is back for her ninth adventure--a wee bit older, a tad more jaded, and as broke as ever. It all begins when Warshawski weasels an invitation to the hottest event in town, a glitzy party celebrating television's brightest new star, Lacey Dowell, or, as she's better known, the Mad Virgin. Vic's old pal (and one-time fling) Murray Ryerson now works for Global Enterprises, the corporate giant behind the Lacey sensation. On the way back from the party, Vic almost runs over a woman lying in the middle of the road, her Mad Virgin T-shirt soaked in blood from an earlier beating. The victim, Nicola Aguinaldo, dies in hospital, and Vic quickly realizes that a particularly nasty cop, Detective Lemour, intends to frame her for vehicular homicide. Her anger at these absurd charges hits the boiling point when Nicola's body disappears from the morgue before an autopsy can be carried out.