The bookselling Darling duo once again prowl amongst their Broward Rock friends for clues to murders past and present.
While waiting for their antebellum mansion to be rehabbed, Max and Annie Darling check into Nightingale Courts, where they plan a housewarming picnic at the local pavilion. Finding another sojourner at the motel, lonely, recovering AA and NA addict Iris Tilford, Annie befriends her and invites her to the party. Most of the locals recognize Iris as the teen who left town after her co-addict Sam overdosed and his sister Jocelyn jumped off a pier, presumably in grief, and drowned. When Iris is found strangled, local mystery writer Emma Clyde, in search of a new plot, begins snooping and is promptly and predictably coshed. Naturally, Max and Annie step forward to find out whodunit. Their none too subtle queries lead to arson, another murder and secrets that have been marinating for a decade. In the manner of the Golden Age detective stories Annie carries in her mystery bookshop, Death on Demand, Annie, Max and Emma call everyone together in order to use their deductions to wrest a confession out of the guilty party, and the tragedies are tidily unraveled.
Like its predecessors (Death Walked In, 2008, etc.), a cozy warranted to make more uncouth readers spit up fur balls and lace their tea with single-malt scotch. Longtime fans will welcome the usual suggestions for further mystery reading, all couched in genially undemanding prose.