O'Donnell's novels, featuring policewoman Norah Mulcahaney, are very popular, and this whodunit is a typical example of why. Promoted to Lt. Mulcahaney, Manhattan Homicide, the officer faces a wily adversary. A weathly socialite, Christina Isserman, lies hospitalized in a drug-and-alcohol coma which, her husband Walther claims, is self-induced. But the woman's sister, Sarah Hoyt, accuses Walther of attempted murder. Basing her investigation on who would benefit from Christina's death, Norah questions Walther and his lover, Lucine Northcott, and Sarah and her husband Justin, since the sisters share their family's fortune. When someone pulls the plug on Christina's respirator, the case becomes one of murder and Norah lays her life on the line to set a trap for the killer, thus generating feverish suspense.