The dynamic Filomena Buscarsela returns in this fourth installment of the eponymous mystery series as an apprentice to a New York City private investigation firm, hoping to put in the three years necessary to get her own P. I. license and earn enough money to support herself and her daughter. Trouble is, she often agrees to take on sticky neighborhood cases pro bono—like the group of squatters restoring an abandoned building in the neighborhood—rather than handle the big-bucks clients her bosses would prefer. While helping out her more “senior” colleagues with her own superior investigative techniques bred from years on the beat, Fil agrees to look into the disappearance of a young illegal immigrant. Then, witnessing the arrest of a neighbor on marijuana-possession charges that nearly turns into a shootout with the police, Fil is roped into finding out what went wrong. Trying to balance charity cases like these with bread-and-butter cases, not to mention single motherhood, Fil is quickly in over her head dodging bullish cops, aggressive businessmen, and corrupt landlords in their working-class Queens neighborhood.
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