A reporter can’t say no to investigating multiple mysteries in a tale in which the discovery of several dead bodies is upstaged by myriad other complications.
Following her foray into crime-solving to save her own hide (Confessions of a Red Herring, 2018), now-freelancing reporter Alex Vlodnachek is ready for the stories she writes to be the most dramatic part of her life. She even plans to take a turn as wise old advice columnist Aunt Margie as soon as she can figure out a way to get cantankerous Marty Crunk, the current voice of the common-sense advice queen, to show her the tricks of the trade. Marty’s willing to help so long as Alex will put him up and keep him away from his nudging niece, Helen, who Marty is convinced is trying to do him in through “caretaking” for him after a short hospital stay. Alex promises to use her connections to investigate as well as to lodge Marty even though her house is filling up. Together with her brother, Nick, who seems to have taken up permanent residence, she discovers that someone evidently broke into the house and left a baby for the siblings to care for. Alex’s dog, Lucy, has eaten the note that might have explained crucial details about the new arrival, so until Alex can look into it further, the baby, dubbed “James Bond Vlodnachek,” is in their care. Enter Baba, Alex and Nick’s grandmother, who’s determined to help with J.B. and lighten the mood. Alex thinks it’s just as well that Baba has come to town given the other mysteries on her plate. Her neighbor and crush, Ian Sterling, has asked for Alex’s help in the sudden disappearance of his father, Harkins. In investigating the disappearance at Ian’s B&B, Alex discovers a body in a freezer on the property. What sort of trouble is Harkins in, and is his body likely to be Alex’s next discovery?
The characters’ clever quips are lost in a plot so overloaded that it’s hard to care very much about any one of its many mysteries.