William Babula. St. John’s Baptism (1988) 258 pp.
San Francisco private eye Jeremiah St. John goes to the office of sleazy
drug attorney Rick Silverman for a “delivery” job. When he gets there he
finds Silverman murdered, an empty safe, and a garbage bag full of cash
hidden under the desk. Silverman’s partner, Sam Fan, hires St. John and
his two partners in the St. John Detective Agency—a Seminole Indian named
Chief Moses and a beautiful ex-policewoman (she was booted off the force
after posing for a “Women in Blue” spread in Playboy) from Ohio
named Mickey—to find the killer. When the police discover the murder weapon
in the apartment of one of Silverman’s Colombian clients, they proclaim
the case closed. St. John doesn’t buy it, though, and continues his investigation.
Along the way he finds plenty of people who aren’t too upset with Silverman’s
death (his ex-wife, a deputy D.A. who used to lose cases to Silverman,
a judge who watched Silverman’s clients go free on technicalities, and
several former girlfriends) and uncovers a nasty blackmail scheme.