City of Secrets: San Francisco, 1940. Tough, chain-smoking, wise-cracking female private investigator solves murders that have a sickening anti-Semitic overtone. Meanwhile, in her personal life, she gets a mysterious note from the mother who abandoned her; she also has to deal with potential suitors who don't necessarily like the nature of her work. She works alone, but her "partner" in solving crimes is a journalist always out for a hot story. Her apartment is a target for the bad guys. There is also a subplot involving eugenics and illegal abortions.
Too Darn Hot: New York City, 1943. Tough, chain-smoking, wise-cracking female private investigator solves murders that have an anti-Semitic undertone. Meanwhile, in her personal life, she tries to confront her painful past with a mother who never loved her; she also has to deal with a boyfriend who doesn't necessarily like how her work takes up all of her time. She works alone, but her "partner" in solving crimes is a cop always out for a hot case. Her apartment is a target for the bad guys. There is also a subplot involving a pregnancy scandal and rape.
Though the two books were so similar, I enjoyed them more than the first books in the series. City's tone was a lot more cynical that its predecessor - the writing style was even choppier and more hard-edged. Too Darn Hot was the same blend of sarcasm and sappy that worked well for the main character.
Maybe it was the blatant contrast between a starkly dark, gritty tone and sardonic but light-hearted irreverence. In the end, Sandra Scoppetone's setting and characters grew on me. Kelli Stanley's didn't.