Unexpected weather and a deadly antique turn a Virginia house party into a nightmare.
Daisy McGovern is more than happy to help out her Aunt Emily with the grand reopening of the Tosh Inn. Actually, Emily isn’t Daisy’s real aunt (or anyone’s), but Daisy, her mother, and Daisy’s best friend are grateful boarders at the old Victorian landmark, which suffered badly during a fall flood. Now Aunt Emily is having a celebration for a select group of people, including the elderly antiques dealers from whom she bought replacement period furniture; Henry Brent, a spry nonagenarian; a couple who are determined to buy the inn; and Daisy’s beau, bat conservationist Drew Alcott. Daisy is still technically married, though her husband ran off years ago, and an unwelcome guest—her husband’s sour-faced aunt, Lillian Barker—disapproves of Drew’s presence at the party. She and the other guests have even more on their minds, however, when Henry is found crushed to death by the huge heirloom secretary he had delivered as a surprise for Emily. About the time his demise starts looking like murder, a freakish blizzard cuts off the inn’s residents from the rest of the world. As the winter winds batter the walls and threaten the electricity, a mysterious refugee from the storm asks for shelter, Aunt Emily’s Remington rifle disappears, and the guests behave more and more bizarrely from the horror of having a killer in their midst. Daisy is finally forced to turn to the one person she least wants help from: incorrigible moonshiner Rick Balsam.
Daisy’s third is less of a romp than its forbears (A Nip of Murder, 2014, etc.), partly because the man she loves to hate is largely absent. But Miller’s twist on the classic country-house murder, including bootleg whisky and rooms named after Confederate generals, is still enjoyable.