A keeper? Definitely.
Private investigator Rosie Lavine doesn’t trust elves. She’s spent too much time with them. So when the elf lord Finandiel tries to hire her to find out who or what is committing minor vandalism and making music in the midnight forests at the artist’s colony of Fey Valley, she figures he’s up to something underhanded. Rosie is ready to turn him down. And then Finandiel tells her his chief reason for concern, the reason that would make any elf take action (thanks to their own vanishingly low fertility): Whatever the Trouble may be, it’s scaring the children. Now, Rosie believes him.
Before Rosie knows it, she’s in the California hills, trying to find her way around the unworldly beauty of Fey Valley (kept that way by the tireless work of half-elf, half-human landscapers); trying to sort out the eccentric residents and work out who’s feuding with whom (and trying to interview residents whose homes are protected by keep-away spells); trying to decide whether anything in Fey Valley is really worth anybody’s concern at all.
Then an unlovable teenage boy runs his motorcycle off the road and is killed. Accident, say the local cops. Those motorcycles are dangerous. But then why was a wire – now broken – strung across the road just where the boy lost control?
There’s more. There’s an elven Romeo and Juliet who have deeply offended their queen – it’s not that they want to get married, it’s that they’ve had the repulsive bad taste to fall in love. There’s the real estate developer who wants to turn Fey Valley into a golf course. There’s an almost beautiful status of a nymph watering a heap of skulls. There’s the elf-hating woman who cooks all the meals for the entire colony. There’s the unknown who shoves Rosie down a steep slope over a creek and nearly beats Rosie’s partner to death.
On the whole, a very satisfying book. I wouldn’t have minded another fifty pages; I’ll see if Melisa Michaels has written any more stories in the same setting; I enjoyed Sister to the Rain thoroughly.