A soapmaker who finds a corpse in her workshop can’t control her urge to investigate any better than she can control her inventory of oatmeal-milk bath salts.
Even though lye is an essential ingredient in her craft, soapmaker Sophie Mae Reynolds swears that the sodium hydroxide that killed handyman Walter Hanover didn’t come from her. She lives with her best friend Meghan Bly, and there’s just too much risk to Meghan’s ten-year-old daughter Erin, so all her supplies are locked carefully away in the cabinets that line her basement workshop. Of course, she can’t explain where the lye that killed Walter did come from, or why he chose to drink it in her workshop—facts that don’t escape the keen notice of Detective Barr Ambrose. But it isn’t just to clear herself that Sophie Mae visits Walter’s aging mother Tootie and checks out the Beans R Us coffee shop, where Walter spent afternoons playing cribbage with Debby and Jacob Silverman. No matter how often Ambrose warns her to leave sleuthing to the professionals, she has to conceal the boxes she rescued from Walter’s burned-out cottage from the police so that she can check them for clues herself—even after a mysterious driver tries to end her snooping with a van.
McRae’s debut is mainly lather.