Fina punched the address into her phone and waited for the navigation to begin. She’d recently changed the voice to an Australian man who sounded less judgy than the Brit before.
She’d never been to the Anchor, a dive bar slash seafood restaurant a few streets from Boston’s theater district, but she knew that Dante Trimonti conducted business from a booth in the back when he wasn’t at the night club. Dante was a pimp on the rise; a greasy, but handsome guy Fina plied for information. She didn’t like his line of work, but she also knew that she wasn’t going to change him. She might as well use him.
Inside the bar, red glass lanterns sat atop the tables, and thickly braided fishing nets were strung along the walls. The bar stools were a mishmash of backless pleather and heavy wood ones that rotated with a groan. Fina gave her eyes a moment to adjust and moved to the back of the space, where Dante sat contemplating an overflowing plate of fried food.
“That looks good,” Fina said, reaching out and snagging a fried scallop.
“Paws off, Ludlow!”
“Take it easy. There’s enough to feed a whole boat crew.”
Dante sipped his beer and ran a hand across his mouth. “Your manners suck.”
Fina chewed the scallop, which was cooked just right, not rubbery nor raw. “May I have some more? Please, sir?”
Dante scowled at her. “Will it make you leave faster?”
He pushed the plate in her direction. She picked out a clam and dipped it into the small paper cup of tartar sauce.
“So, let me guess,” Dante ventured. “You need something.”
“Actually, I’m here to do you a favor.”
His eyebrow rose, and the hint of a smile curled the corners of his mouth.
“Oh, please,” Fina said. “Don’t get your hopes up.” She reached for a full glass of water next to his beer and took a drink. “There’s someone who’s looking for you.”
“Yeah. Who’s that?”
“Her name is Lydia.”
Dante was chewing a French fry, but the motion changed when Fina mentioned the young woman. It was as if any pleasure he had been deriving from the act was gone.
A fried shrimp called to her from the plate while she waited for him to respond.
“Do you know Lydia or is there some mix-up?” she asked when he remained silent.
“What’s she look like?” He sniffed as if suddenly overcome with a cold.
“She’s pretty. Thin, light brown hair to about here.” Fina motioned to her shoulders. “She called herself Lydia Rialta, but she couldn’t produce an ID.”
“What does she want?”
“She wants to talk to you, but she said you wouldn’t be very receptive.”
“It that why she hired you? To be her message girl?”
“I think she didn’t want to just show up out of the blue.”
Dante sat back in the booth. He rolled his shoulders as if prepping for a fight. “She didn’t have any problem disappearing into the blue.”
“What’s the story with you two?” Fina asked. A dollop of tartar sauce decorated the flimsy paper placemat under Dante’s plate. She could see an illustration of a lobster with a wide smile; not hip to his fate, apparently.
“I don’t want to talk to her. Tell her no dice.”
“C’mon, Dante. What’s the deal? Did she break your heart?”
He took a pull from his beer and stared at the door, closing behind a departing customer. “She’s my sister.”
You can read more about Fina in Duplicity, the fourth book in the “Fina Ludlow” private investigator series.
Gutsy Boston P.I. Fina Ludlow returns with a case that puts her faith to the test—in the latest addition to the critically acclaimed series by Ingrid Thoft.
When Ceci Renard hires Ludlow and Associates to sue the hip new church that she believes has brainwashed her daughter, Fina Ludlow is assigned to the case. Covenant Rising Church has all the trappings of a less-than-holy organization: a slick young pastor and his comely wife; fancy houses and luxury cars; and devoted congregants who seem eager to part with their money. Fina wonders if Ceci disapproves of Covenant Rising’s theology or the pastor’s ability to solicit generous donations—until a prominent church member dies unexpectedly. Fina’s investigation requires her to delve into the woman’s life—both in and out of Covenant Rising—and ask a host of difficult questions. Is the pastor leading his flock astray? Did the church have a hand in the death or were there less savory elements in the woman’s life outside the parish?
The case proves to be a complicated morass of misplaced loyalties and questionable motivations, rivaled only by the current state of the Ludlow family. The return of eldest brother Rand sets in motion an explosive showdown that threatens the very fabric that holds the family together, forcing Fina to confront the true meaning of faith.
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Meet the author
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Ingrid Thoft is the author of the critically acclaimed Fina Ludlow series. Loyalty, Identity, Brutality, and Duplicity feature the Boston private investigator who tangles with the city’s criminal element and her family of personal injury attorneys. The series has been called “sizzling” by Entertainment Weekly and “dazzling” by Publishers Weekly. Brutality won the Shamus Award for Best P.I. Novel, and Loyalty was nominated for the Shamus Award for best debut P.I. novel. Ingrid earned a certificate in private investigation from the University of Washington in her quest to create a believable private investigator character and is also a graduate of Wellesley College. She lives in Seattle with her husband. Connect with Ingrid at ingridthoft.com.
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Duplicity is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.