What if Nancy Drew grew up and lived in a bizarrely enigmatic film-noir world? That question is answered in this novel, where we meet Finley: a discerning, meticulous investigator working at a nameless agency.
Her latest case involves the cryptic Professor Uppal and his equally vexing puppets. The reasoning for the case is obscure, as Finley seems to investigate everything but the marionettes and their maker. Unfettered, she embarks upon making sense of the case with her colleagues, The Lamb and Murphy. Henehan's packed, straightforward prose (Finley spares no detail or observation) stays transparent while the plot dives into surreal territory. Meanwhile, characters appear and disappear under strange circumstances, behave absurdly, and unveil complicated backstories of their own.
As Finley uncovers the case of the puppets, the novel becomes a story about halves, about things that are unfinished, and it becomes clear that even Finley is not whole. She acts like an empty vessel juxtaposed against this noir detective landscape, deeply describing everyone she encounters but hardly describing herself. She watches, listens, and reports dutifully but does not remember much of her own past or even her real name. In this context, Henehan weaves a delicious plot of self-discovery as if in a dreamlike state. Each new development reveals a change in Finley's own existence and resets the very world of the novel itself.