Los Angeles, 1928. Oil, oranges and site of the C. C. Julian Petroleum stock scandal, a Ponzi type scheme to rival any in American history and a foreshadowing of the decade's looming, economic crash. As one of the scheme's victims, Ohio probate officer Sarah Kaufman--till reeling from the KKK murders she helped solve in Tennessee--is in the city to attend the trial of the perpetrators, in particular of the ''friend'' who convinced her to invest. Sarah is eager for justice and committed to seeing the trial through. She's glad she's alone, that her lover Mitchell isn't there, that after court she'll have time to herself. But when a Mexican woman she barely knows winds up dead, Sarah's plans are thrown upside down. Suddenly she finds herself in a nightmarish trial by fire, one that takes her from the glamour of Hollywood to the Tijuana frontier, tests her deepest beliefs and leads her to discover not only a killer, but a part of Los Angeles built on a terrible secret. Includes Readers Guide.