One of the great things about the Ms. Tree comic books by Max Allan Collins and artist Terry Beatty was that they actually told a story. In the age of "blow `em up real good" super-heroes that's saying something (my favorite super-hero movie is Galaxy Quest, if that tells you anything).
What's especially fine about Deadly Beloved, the Hard Case introduction to Ms. Michael Tree in novel form, is that Max is able to bring the same hard-boiled rough and tumble flavor and tension of the comic books to the printed page. And the bonus is that he's able, in this form, to give us a richer portrait of Michael Tree, who took over her husband's private detective agency after his death.
Marcy Addwater is accused of killing her faithless husband and his bimbo lover. The police feel that there's enough evidence--Marcy caught them together--to charge the woman. Ms. Tree steps in to help. This looks like too much of a frame to satisfy her, especially when she begins to learn a few deadly things about the husband and his girl friend.
This is a one-sitting read because the suspense is so good (Max creates great mystery plots) and the writing sizzles all the way through. I'd be surprised if this isn't the first in a series.