A pair of lesbian lovers must uncover the dark secrets of a picture-perfect village to solve a murder.
Lillian Campbell, widow of a respected local physician, and Ada Strauss, another widow who has relocated from New York City, are slowly exploring a budding relationship when disaster strikes. Both own condos in a beautiful Connecticut retirement community. Ada’s mother, Rose, has recently and reluctantly moved to nearby Nillewaug Village, a well-regarded assisted living complex. Her reservations are tragically justified when a fire breaks out at Nillewaug. Part-time journalist Lil records the horrifying scene as they search for Rose. They find her helping Alice, an Alzheimer's patient whose grandson is one of the nurses on duty, and also stumble upon the body of administrative director Delia Preston, who appears to have jumped from the roof. Once her unfortunate accident is rebranded as murder, suspicion spreads that the fire may have been arson started in the overcrowded apartment of Dr. Norman Trask. The story becomes more complicated when the FBI arrests the complex's CEO, Jim Warren, for Medicaid fraud just as he’s about to flee the country. One of three football heroes who had put their town on the map with a series of state championships, quarterback Warren and his less mentally gifted friends have become wealthy and respected men. But when Lil starts to investigate, she discovers a dark past that the locals would rather forget. As they continue to dig for clues, Lil and Ada are both outed and put in physical danger.
The second in Atkins’ new series (Vultures at Twilight, 2012) provides plenty of suspects, some complicated crimes and a conflicted pair of sleuths.