Dana lives in a rooming house in Toronto. She moved there to hide out after a brutal assault and subsequent descent into depression forced her to abandon her studies at university. She lives with an eclectic group of characters. To most, they are on the fringes of society, mentally, socially, emotionally and medically challenged. They banded together in Last Stop Sunnyside to solve the disappearance of one of their housemates. This common goal gave them new focus and purpose in life. Now Dana is studying for her private investigator license and there is a "Dana Leoni - PI" sign on the door.
A television report on their case prompts Bernie, an old university friend of Dana's, to contact her. His mother Anna has become reclusive in the last few months and is clearing out her bank accounts. Bernie suspects that her behaviour might have something to do with the charity work she was doing.
"I need someone who can fit in anywhere...I need someone I can trust". And so they have an actual paying case.
The detail and understanding that Capponi brings to her dialogues, interactions and settings is authentic. Capponi is writing from experience, having survived the very situations she writes about. She is now one of Canada's leading mental health care advocates. For many readers, the details of living conditions will be an eye opener. The novels are set in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood.
This is not to say that the books are dark and humourless. They are funny as well. How do you tail someone when your bus pass has expired?
Capponi deftly portrays the lives of a marginalized group of society while at the same time providing us with an entertaining witty tale. She has managed to write an intriguing mystery that could be pulled from today's headlines using the most unlikely band of sleuths.