Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Discovery" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

From: Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, November 2008.

Pia Cardenas, solo attorney in a small New Mexico town, represents Nan Hughes. Nan's husband, Ty, tried to outrun a train in his truck and supposedly died in the resulting crash. Shortly before he died, Ty left a voicemail for Nan, confessing to trying to beat the train. Not only does the evidence seem stacked against her, but Pia also feels overwhelmed by the large law firm representing the railroad.

Leaning toward asking Nan to settle, Pia nevertheless covers all her bases, running down the list of witnesses. Her legwork pays off as she discovers the truth behind the accident. This is a classic David vs. Goliath story livened up by Pia's epiphany that she prefers working solo in a small town to a job with a more prominent firm.

While Pia isn't a private investigator by name, "Discovery" has many of the best characteristics of the P.I. story. I can see why it was nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America.

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