A bookstore owner goes all out to save her best friend from a murder charge in this series kickoff from Lillard (A Family for Gracie, 2019, etc.).
Arlo Stanley’s nomadic life with her hippie parents left her with a strong urge to settle down. She chose Sugar Springs, Mississippi, the small town where she’d been allowed to stay for her high school years. Just before the 10th Annual All School Class Reunion, the dead body of former classmate Wallace J. Harrison is found on the sidewalk outside her shop, Books & More. Wally, whose book was a recent New York Times bestseller, had a stunning wife, Daisy James-Harrison, and a lovely mistress/assistant, Inna Kolisnychenko. So did he jump, or was he pushed? Chief Matthew “Mads” Keller was Arlo’s high school squeeze until football broke them up. Like everyone else in Sugar Springs, he knows that Arlo’s best friend, Chloe Carter, the foodie "More" in Books & More, had a child with Wally in high school whom he refused to acknowledge. Taxed with her motive, Chloe admits that Wally came to see her wanting to get back into his son’s life, but she doesn’t think the arrogant Wally would kill himself. When Mads arrests Chloe based on a coffee cup laced with poison mushrooms, Arlo resolves to prove her innocent. When Sam Tucker, the man she turned to after she broke up with Mads, arrives in town to care for his sick mother, Arlo’s life becomes even more complicated as she ponders her relationships with the two men she may still love. Luckily, Arlo’s book club ladies, who’ve been around forever and know every secret in town, are thrilled to help Arlo as she desperately chases down clues.
A promising series debut, sometimes humorous, often puzzling, and peopled with believable characters.