Undercity, by Catherone Asaro, from Baen Books.
[Please note: This comes out Dec 2nd, so if it sounds like your sort of book - it was certainly mine - you might have to make a note on your calendar. Or pre-order?
Bhaajan, former major in the Skolian Space Command, is now a civilian, hard-bitten PI who has deliberately put her past behind her. but the kidnapping of a prince drags her back to the past - the undercity of her home planet. only there can she find the clues to solve this crime, and a lot more.
Despite her pedigree I'm embarrassed to own I didn't know this writer. Maybe the publishers should target the UK next? either way, I'm hooked, both on her writing and her Skolian universe.
Basically, this book had everything I wanted; strong characters, a new and unique world, and a plot that isn't as simple as it first appears.
Wish I'd written it. [Sigh.]
I read this book almost in one gulp and already have another loaded to read. What better compliment can one pay?