The reappearance of a reclusive poet causes a sensation in Bear Falls, Michigan.
Jenny Weston returned to her childhood home and the comfort of spending time with her mother, Dora, after a bitter divorce. Her friend and neighbor Zoe Zola is a “Little Person” who writes fairy tales, has a garden full of fairy houses, and is currently writing a book on Emily Dickinson. Dora, a former librarian, has established a series of little libraries that invite visitors to leave a book and take a book. The latest visitor to the one at Dora’s home is poet Emily Sutton, who leads a reclusive life in a decrepit house on the edge of the dangerous Peewee Swamp. Emily’s mother was burned to death in their house, and she claims that her sister, Lorna, has run away. Now only cousin Althea Sutton shops for Emily. Slowly the ladies lure Emily out of hiding, and when Althea is found murdered, Emily agrees to let Zoe shop for her even though she’s never allowed past the porch. Jenny, who’s been building a tentative relationship with carpenter Tony Ralenti, a former cop, is shocked to see him with another woman. She hopes that helping Zoe and the police solve Althea’s murder will take her mind off Tony’s betrayal. When the town’s wealthiest woman resolves to have Emily give a poetry reading, Jenny is surprised that Emily agrees. As Jenny and Zoe interact with the strange poet, they begin to uncover hidden secrets that may help solve more murders.
The second case for the crime-solving friends (A Most Curious Murder, 2016) is a creepy tale filled with literary allusions and sporting a truly puzzling mystery.