Aid worker Amanda Doucette continues a trek across Canada (The Trickster’s Lullaby, 2017, etc.) that’s supposed to be therapeutic but turns into a crime-riddled exploration of the area around Ontario’s magnificent Georgian Bay.
Before she can launch the Georgian Getaway, the third in the Fun for Families events she’s organizing in the hope of doing better herself by doing something good for abused local families, Amanda needs to scope out the area with the help of veteran local guide George Gifford, whom she’s engaged to take her and Kaylee, her faithful dog, on a preliminary kayak tour. Her first hint that something’s gone wrong is the appearance of Ronny Gifford in place of his ailing father. Her second is their discovery of a young woman whose boat has sunk near a remote island. Her third is Ronny’s abrupt departure with the woman they’ve just rescued, leaving Amanda and Kaylee stranded on the island themselves. Their rescue ends the strongest and most characteristic part of the story and prepares for its central mystery: the question of how neurologist Benson Humphries, whom Amanda met briefly while she was waiting in vain for George Gifford, met his death and who might have helped him meet it. Ben Humphries was a complicated man who married into an even more complicated family. His wife, Janine, and her sister, Candace, are daughters and heirs of the late Duncan Saint Clair, whose wealth put Ben’s own earnings to shame. The sisters, legendary wild children, seem to have no higher purpose than battling their shared Filipino nanny and their long-suffering cook, their neighbors, Janine’s teenage daughter, and each other. But the gale-force recriminations have barely started when Amanda and Chris Tymko, her favorite Mountie, discover a further complication on the shore of a magical inland lake: the inadequately buried body of Ronny Gifford.
The busy, overstuffed mystery, fueled by drugs, illegal immigration, and endless domestic feuding, never comes close to equaling the elemental power of the resilient heroine’s opening adventure.