An amateur detective must solve a murder to clear her father.
Krissy Hancock, who owns the bookstore/cafe Death by Coffee in the smallish town of Pine Hills, has a reputation as a crime solver (Death by Pumpkin Spice, 2016, etc.). She's surprised and delighted by the unannounced visit of her father, mystery author James Hancock, his agent, Rick Wiseman, and Rick’s put-upon assistant, Cameron Little. Pushed into giving a talk for the local book club, James finds that almost every member has a manuscript they want him to read. James foists this task off on Rick, who ungraciously dashes off before the crowd can ply him with their work—but not before he makes an obnoxious pass at Krissy, who’s never liked him. Next morning, Rick is nowhere to be found, so Krissy goes to his hotel, where she discovers his body, stabbed through the eye with a pen. Her old flame Officer Paul Dalton is unhappy to find Krissy involved in yet another crime. His unhappiness deepens when Krissy's father reveals that he went to Rick’s hotel, fired him, and punched him in the nose for good measure, as if intent on making himself a suspect. As it turns out, the wannabe authors had all visited the hotel, leaving their manuscripts in the hope that Rick would read them. As she balances her love life between the doctor she’s dating and Paul Dalton, whom she still has feelings for, Krissy can’t help poking around even though she’s warned off by the police. Encouraged by her friends and father, who’s curious to investigate a real-life case, she resolves to identify the killer.
Plenty of suspects keep the story moving, but the heroine would be hard to pick out of a lineup of cozy sleuths.