Whatever it is that women want, it’s probably not a Noel Coward ditty.
Mired in abandonment issues and determined not to need anybody ever, gruff Deputy Dolly Wakowski finds herself pregnant. Freelancer Emily Kincaid, divorced from a serial philanderer, man-shy and five years new to Leetsville, Mich., is waiting to hear if a New York agent will handle her book. Their lives keep intersecting over murders (Dead Floating Lovers, 2009, etc.) that Emily helps Dolly solve while writing them up for the Northern Statesman. This time they must identify the dead (Mexican?) woman shot in the back of the head in a deserted house. Turkey buzzards lead them to a mutilated dog, also shot. Off the pair go to question migrants, who are skipping town at an alarming rate after dead dogs are left on their doorsteps. Meanwhile, Emily’s ex, a relocated Ann Arbor English professor, has befriended eccentric Cecil Hawke, and convinced the wealthy Englishman that Emily can edit his manuscript, the definitive work on Noel Coward. But when Emily starts reading, the manuscript is not about Coward but about two friends on a killing spree, one of whom has a gnawed-off finger just like Cecil’s. Then at a Blithe Spirit costume party at Hawke’s house, his dramatically hostile wife Lila, the current inamorata of Emily’s ex, is shot dead. Is there a connection to the murder on Old Farm Road? While Dolly wrestles with morning sickness and Emily reasons with herself about breaking her confidentiality contract with Cecil, dogs, sheep and a migrant family suffer gruesome atrocities, ushering in more distorted versions of Coward.
Buzzelli will have you packing your bags for a move to northern Michigan in the hope that you’ll find a friend as appealing as Emily and a dog as lovable as Sorrow.