The year is 1921, and Alice James has just arrived in Oregon with a bullet wound, a lifetime's experience battling the New York Mafia, and fifty thousand dollars in illicit cash. She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who saves her by leading her to the Paragon Hotel. But her unlikely sanctuary turns out to be an all-black hotel in a Jim Crow city, and its lodgers seem uneasy with a white woman on the premises. Even as Alice and her new friends at Paragon search for a mulatto child who has vanished, the Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers, and to untangle the web of lies and misdeeds around her, Alice will have to answer for her own past.
"A blend of film noir and screwball comedy…. The jauntiness of the prose doesn't hide the fact that Ms. Faye has serious business on her mind."—Wall Street Journal