After the tyrannical owner of a Manhattan luxury hotel is found submerged in her bathtub, evidence seems increasingly to indicate that the woman's death was the work of her deeply frustrated, long-suffering daughter.
A psychiatrist is stabbed to death one night in a park adjoining Gracie Mansion, and the killer seems to be a hostile schizophrenic from a nearby homeless shelter; but there proves to be far more to the case than meets the naked eye.
Soon after a notorious "Yuppie Killer" leaves prison, his mother is found dead. As Goren and Eames investigate, however, they find disturbing hints tying her murder to yet another infamous, but closed, case: the "Reservoir Runner Rape."
Esteemed former Senator Randolph Kittridge succumbs to cancer while his son and daughter wrangle over a codicil to his will providing that his body be cryogenically frozen after his death. But when not only the ailing Senator but also his daughter die, Eames and Goren start looking at murder suspects and their motives.
After a father and son are found with their throats cut, detectives Goren and Eames find everyone in the victims' supposedly "low-crime" neighborhood strangely reluctant to cooperate with the murder investigation.
Goren and Eames try to unravel a deadly mystery after an elderly woman dies in a fire and bequeaths some of her estate to a young woman who is subsequently murdered. Soon their investigation turns to a shady state public administrator who has re-invented the concept of "grave-robbing." Goren discovers the suspect's weakness for expensive collector cars, but to make the case succeed in court, he might also need to exploit his quarry's personal relationships.
Part 1 of 2: The murder of a crooked cop puts Detectives Goren and Eames on the trail of an obsessively clean doctor whose previous girlfriends all seem to be afflicted with a "zoonotic" disease -- or a virus found only in animals. Their probe also points to a preening veterinarian as well as a looming psychological component that is crucial to putting a bulletproof case together.
With Detective Eames is on leave, Detective Goren is temporarily partnered with Detective Bishop as they track a double-crossing "Bonnie and Clyde" couple whose nine bloody victims include two undercover cops investigating a illegal gun-running ring. To gain a foothold on slim evidence that began in an auto paint shop, Goren focuses on one suspect's mental processes -- and knows that his female running mate is pulling the strings.
When an Argentine immigrant is found slashed and beaten in the family's bathroom, Detectives Goren and Bishop believe the wounds were self-inflicted -- but her husband's history of violence makes the police think he could have been responsible for other racially motivated murders that were discovered by his wife. But since they cannot implicate the suspect in his wife's death, Goren explores the family's tragic history on both sides and struggles to find a link to the kneecap-murders of a string of Jewish men.
When someone spikes the punch - leaving three dead in an isolated island church - Detectives Goren and Bishop first believe the murders are related to parishioner politics, but then discover a sorrowful sexual lifestyle among the town's jaded youth that points to three teenaged girls who might be connected to the drownings of three former lovers. The heady Goren uses his knowledge of "Siddhartha" to query one of the girls whose undying allegiance to a male classmate is harrowing.
When a wealthy father is found savagely beaten to death, Detective Goren and temporary partner Bishop find a family album of suspects, including the victim's soon-to-be ex-wife, a nanny who cared for the couple's adopted Romanian sons and a suspicious aunt and uncle. However, after Goren delves deeper into the family's past, his only hope of sorting out the jumble of possible killers is to call for a clan reunion -- in family court.