Eighteen years after her brother’s death, an early-morning phone call brings Sophie Mae Reynolds back home to Colorado to investigate.
Sophie Mae’s bath-products business is flourishing, and she’s about to marry detective Barr Ambrose. But her mother Anna Belle’s call begging her to come home and read her brother’s long-lost suicide note changes everything. The newly surfacing letter, sent by her brother Bobby Lee to his girlfriend Tabby and marked return to sender, says that he can’t handle the guilt, but doesn’t say what for. Sophie Mae uses Tabby’s cheesemaking classes as an excuse for a visit to the dairy farm owned by Tabby and her husband Joe, who was Bobby Lee’s best friend. Although Tabby is extremely reticent to talk about the past, Sophie Mae perseveres, and when Joe gets bashed to death with a cream bottle, the ladies alibi each other. Meanwhile, Sophie Mae researches the period of Bobby Lee’s death, looking for an event that could have caused his guilty feelings. Several deaths at that time and problems at a ranch run for troubled teens may hold the answer. Arriving to meet her parents, Barr is embroiled in both Anna Belle’s ambitious wedding plans and Sophie Mae’s search for clues she hopes will clear up both Bobby Lee and Joe’s deaths.
Another enjoyable entry in McRae’s craft-centered series (Spin a Wicked Web, 2009, etc.). This time information about artisanal cheesemaking supplements the plausible mystery.