What is death? Darcy Lott asks her Zen teacher, Garson-roshi.While scouting a location site on the Golden Gate Bridge, stunt double Darcy Lott sees a woman about to jump. The woman fights, but Darcy manages to pull her back. Before disappearing, the woman tells Darcy that by Thanksgiving she’ll be dead. Darcy has four days to find her and keep her from killing herself, but she has no idea who she is. Darcy tracks her to a dodgy San Francisco neighborhood, where she uncovers more perplexing facts. The woman ran a copy shop operating as a front for “the cockroach,” the shady police boss of the neighborhood, lived in a cheap apartment above a bagpipe player, and spent very little money except on an expensive racing bike the week before. Meanwhile, there are problems with the movie production. One of the producers, Macomber Dale, gets their permit revoked, causing them to redo an entire set-up, and then drives the stunt car off the Berkeley pier. The search leads Darcy to the last place a woman would ever bike to: the Top of the Mark on Nob Hill, to a swank charity reception at City Hall and finally to a place more terrifying than the cold Pacific.
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Susan Dunlap is the author of a collection of short stories and twenty-three novels, including the other Darcy Lott mysteries, Civil Twilight, Hungry Ghosts, A Single Eye and Power Slide. She has won Anthony and Macavity awards and has been president of Sisters in Crime. She and her husband live near San Francisco.