The investigative business is booming for Juliet Applebaum and her partner Al, but their new client, incarcerated in Dartmore State Prison, is going to be a real challenge. Sandra Lorgeree has enlisted Juliet to locate the son she surrendered to foster car — as well as the foster parents who seem to have disappeared with him. But Juliet's new case takes a deadly detour when the desperate young mother is knifed to death — allegedly by another inmate. Prison officials dismiss the murder as just one more fatality in lockdown. Juliet has her doubts.
Now Juliet is determined to make Sandra's last wish come true. Even if it means tracking little Noah — and the killer — through the dark maze of a widespread conspiracy. And even if it winds up pitting her against some very wealthy, powerful, and dangerous enemies.
"… I found myself searching out other detectives who had already proven themselves boon companions. And Juliet Applebaum, the perpetually worn-out ''self-employed mother'' in Ayelet Waldman's witty ''Mommy-Track'' mysteries, came through. In The Cradle Robbers, Juliet wisecracks her way through situations that would sap the strength of any woman who had to deal with three kids (including a 4-month-old who weighs 19 pounds) and a distracted husband (hers writes horror screenplays in the basement dungeon of their Hollywood mansion, whose previous owner left it with a homoerotic decorating motif and wood rot). Besides maintaining her household, Juliet does investigative work — in this case tracing a child who's gone missing from foster care. Juliet's smart sleuthing exposes some ugly truths about the parental rights of women in prison, but the way she maintains her sense of humor while juggling detective chores and baby duty is awesome."
— Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
"Juliet Applebaum, ex-public defender and 'self-employed mother,' juggles the demands of her oversized four-month-old daughter and a case involving a female prisoner in her engrossing sixth outing (after 2004's Murder Plays House).
Sandra Lorgeree, an inmate of California's isolated Dartmore prison, has surrendered her baby to foster care only to discover that the baby and the foster parents have disappeared. When Sandra is brutally murdered, Juliet is convinced that her death is not just the result of prison violence. While sleep-deprived Juliet schleps through L.A. and Northern California in search of the truth and Sandra's missing baby, her husband deals with his own legal problems, making for a less than blissful existence at their quirky home in the Hollywood hills. Waldman, herself a former public defender, vividly portrays life on the street and behind prison walls. Human and credible characters—in particular, a smart, sensitive sleuth—lift a mystery that should delight committed fans and attract new ones."
— Publisher's Weekly