From the Publisher:
By night the glamorous Baroness de Pontalba, by day New Orleans's hippest PI, Talba Wallis is dumbfounded when she can't do a simple background check on an old friend - Babalu Maya just doesn't seem to exist on paper. Four days later, she doesn't exist at all. And the man who should be Talba's new worst enemy becomes her new best client. As Talba and her curmudgeonly boss, Eddie Valentino, thread their way backward through Babalu's short, difficult life, they find an intricate pattern of violence and fear and a shadowy Mr. Big with homicidal intent. Talba butts right into everybody's business in Clayton, Louisiana, a small town with a big, ugly secret, where being black, mouthy, and smart are the three qualities most likely to get her killed. As she uncovers dark truths, events and people spiral into nasty motion in a story that has more twists and turns than the Mississippi River. But Talba's poetic soul (as the Baroness, she's a poet and performance artist), impeccable computer skills, facility with high-tech equipment, and willingness to bend the law get her through in fine style, along with a little help from Eddie, her sweetheart Darryl Boucree, and her sharp-tongued mama, Miz Clara.
Julie Smith: Louisiana Bigshot. A Talba Wallis Novel. Tor Books, ISBN: 0765343800 (August, 2003), 320 p., $6.99