A retired psychotherapist who’s departed the city can’t leave the nut jobs behind.
Having had her fill of New Yorkers and their neuroses, Janet Petrocelli moves to the Hudson Valley to open “Janet’s Planet,” an antique shop. Part of Janet’s retirement involves not offering on-the-spot counseling, even though her hippie boyfriend Zack and several of her new friends seem to need her advice. She thinks she’s got her life under control, but her calm is soon challenged by the small town’s famed Livingston family. Daphne, the elderly heiress, wants to unload some goods to Janet, but when Janet comes to collect them, Daphne has disappeared. Instead, Janet meets the extended Livingston family: Godfrey, Daphne’s housemate, brother and nemesis; Maggie, his nudist adopted daughter; Becky, Daphne’s strung-out niece; Rodina, Becky’s wild-child offspring; and Claire, Daphne’s straitlaced prep-school niece, who guides Janet through Westward Farm, the family’s home. Although Janet at first finds the apparently deranged bunch innocuous, her opinion changes when she discovers Daphne’s body in the farm’s summerhouse. The Livingstons have so much money that the cops don’t mind calling Daphne’s death a suicide. But Janet, convinced there’s more to the story, begins to investigate the twisted world of the rich and reclusive. Her interest is especially piqued when she hears that local developer Vince Hammer can’t wait to get his hands on the Livingston land.
Stuart’s (The Hour Between, 2009, etc.) aristocratic characters will charm and disgust you—and make you grateful that you’re more sane than wealthy.