A will written 100 years ago proves dangerous for a disparate group of people related by blood.
Chicago dweller Rachel Connolly wants to know more about her birth mother. Her search leads her to the small northern Minnesota town of Birch Falls, where the Schlegel family built a mansion and a wealthy lifestyle on profits from the Hadleigh Mine. There she meets Jackson Schlegel, caretaker of the estate, and his granddaughter Linnet, who’s been hiding from her father, Luke Chapman, because he killed her mother while they were living in Chicago. Both Jackson and Luke are interested in the money Andrew Schlegel left in a 100-year trust for the descendants of Mary Anne Schlegel, or, if none are found, those of his brother William. Andrew’s son Jonas and then his daughter Mary Anne had run away from home because hard-headed businessman Andrew would not support their interest in the arts. When Rachel reads Mary Anne’s diary, which Linnet has discovered in the attic, she realizes she is the illegitimate offspring of Mary Anne and is entitled to what may be a fortune. A Chicago cop looking for Luke has teamed up with the local sheriff, but they may be too late to save Rachel.
Pirrone (the nom de plume of freelance editor Diane Piron-Gelman) cleverly shifts between Mary Anne’s tale and Rachel’s search, creating a page-turner for fans of both history and mystery.