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Edgar-winner Abbott (Queenpin) explores gender inequality and its sometimes tragic results in her well-crafted fourth crime novel, inspired by the true story of Winnie Ruth Judd (aka the "Trunk Murderess"). In 1931, Marion Seeley, a young woman whose husband has gone abroad on undisclosed business, secures a clerical job at the Werden Clinic in the capital of an unnamed Midwest state. From a veteran nurse, Louise Mercer, Marion learns that doctors have been misbehaving with the clinic's nursing staff. Marion becomes involved with Joe Lanigan, a close friend of the doctors and a reliable source of entertainment and money for the often cash-strapped nurses. When Louise and Ginny Hoyt, Louise's roommate, confront Marion about her relationship to Joe, the women get into a heated argument that leads to murder and a startling predicament for Marion. Readers should be prepared for a lot of backstory before the pace picks up and hurtles to a shocking ending. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.