Death in the Smithsonian, A Jake Curtis / Vanessa Malone Mystery
The theft of a beautiful new client's valuable diamond necklace leads Jake Curtis and his wife Vanessa Malone into a conflict between two rival D.C. Crime families for control of the city's vice trades culminating in a major confrontation the day before Christmas Eve in the Grand Rotunda of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. More
The beautiful, statuesque, blond Crystal O'Shea, the owner of a chain of high end dress stores, hires Jake Curtis and his wife Vanessa Malone to investigate the theft of valuable diamond necklace which turned up missing after a party she hosted at her swanky apartment. With only ten people attending the party; her four store managers, their dates, Crystal O'Shea and her head of store security Boyle Cavanaugh, and the two catering staff, the list of potential thieves is limited. By the process of elimination, the thief turns out to be one of her store managers who also moonlights as a part time hooker. Jake and Vanessa follow the trail of the stolen necklace from the thief to her pimp who either sold it or had it stolen, the pimp wasn't clear on the matter, by another bad guy who later sold it to the head of one of the major D.C. Crime families, a fierce and ruthless man who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted.
Two automatic weapons carrying masked gunmen break into Crystal's apartment, kill two of her employees and seriously wounding her. Jake is bound and determined to capture the shooters until they turn up dead, two nine mm bullets each in the back of the head.
Jake's Marine Corps buddy and platoon corporal from the First Gulf War, Ben Lyons, who makes his living by means better left unsaid, has a contact in the other major D.C. Crime family who casually mentioned a valuable necklace up for sale. A meet is arranged and Jake and Lyons buy back Crystal's necklace.
Jake still wants justice for Crystal and her dead employees. He wants to find the killer's killers. Jake and Lyons' search leads him into treachery and counter treachery, the plots and counter plots of the city's warring underworld families. The dealings and double crosses of their sinister manipulations to gain control of the city and its potentially profitable vice trades. And finally evolving into a conflict between the two rival crime families culminating in a major confrontation the day before Christmas Eve in the Grand Rotunda of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History.
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