February 2020
Designed by Michael Kilfoy
ISBN: 978-0-57852462-7
320 pages


A woman is brutally murdered in a quiet rural subdivision. The killer is just leaving as Francis X. Lenihan pulls up. Francis has come to serve papers, but there’s no one home—just as the “caretaker” had told him. Francis leaves his card in the door, and two days later, in St. Louis, homicide detectives are at his door. Francis helps the police all he can, but they need more. If only he could sort through his beer-soaked memory and recall the vanity plate on the killer’s muscle car. Meanwhile he has reluctantly taken the assignment placed on him by Rose, the formidable young woman who has tracked him down to his favorite bar: Find this son of a bitch and bring him to justice.

Cops and criminals, break-ins and brawls, a killer at large. The idiosyncratic Francis wades through a slew of dicey situations, peril at every turn, his process server wiles put to the test. He has no qualms about grabbing the bull by the horns. The question is how badly will he be gored? Maybe he should just stay put in the cozy confines of Murphy’s Bar, where the regulars ply him with drinks for the favor of singing their beloved Irish ballads.

“An ode to Dogtown and the pleasures of neighborhood bars, wrapped around a story as unpredictable as life.”
— Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Trying to do his job, one man finds himself the focus of the police and bad guys after he stumbles into a caper gone very bad. The city of St. Louis and a memorable cast of characters sets the stage for a tale of murder, mischief, and mayhem in this page-turning and entertaining story.”
— Seattle Book Review

” … crime fiction at its best …”  — Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Meet Francis Lenihan, who co-stars with the city of St. Louis in William Stage’s exciting and entertaining new mystery novel. Francis roams his beloved city wryly observing ‘if it weren’t for the heat and crime, St. Louis would be the ideal place to live.’ Stage has created a brilliant cast from evil criminals to dedicated police officers. Lenihan is an endearing and complex character enjoying his community, his beer and an occasional Irish tune in one of his favorite taverns.”
— Stuart Shiffman, Illinois Times