cover image The Cradle Robbers

The Cradle Robbers

Ayelet Waldman, . . Berkley Prime Crime, $23.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-425-20284-5

Juliet Applebaum, ex-public defender and "self-employed mother," juggles the demands of her oversized four-month-old daughter and a case involving a female prisoner in her engrossing sixth outing (after 2004's Murder Plays House ). Sandra Lorgeree, an inmate of California's isolated Dartmore prison, has surrendered her baby to foster care only to discover that the baby and the foster parents have disappeared. When Sandra is brutally murdered, Juliet is convinced that her death is not just the result of prison violence. While sleep-deprived Juliet schleps through L.A. and Northern California in search of the truth and Sandra's missing baby, her husband deals with his own legal problems, making for a less than blissful existence at their quirky home in the Hollywood hills. Waldman, herself a former public defender, vividly portrays life on the street and behind prison walls. Human and credible characters—in particular, a smart, sensitive sleuth—lift a mystery that should delight committed fans and attract new ones. Agent, Mary Evans. (Aug.)