This book came out in 1990 . . . so how come I haven't heard more about Katharine Kerr in the years since then?! A little cyper punk-y, a little Sam Spade-y, and a bit of R. Daneel Olivaw-ishness, with some Anne McCaffrey-type mental talents sprinkled here and there. Such fun!
From back cover: Cashiered for mutiny by the Republic star fleet, Bobbie Lacey has made it her business to know everything that happens on the mean streets of Polar City. But something so big is going down, even she can't get all the answers.
An alien ambassador of the Confederation lies dead in front of City Hall, throat slashed by a deranged assassin. A mysterious alien rtifact has been discovered in the slums of Port town, a wildfire plague rages out of control, and the cops are stumped.
If Lacey doesn't solve the mystery damned quick, her home turf will become ground zero in a shooting war between the Alliance and the Confederation.