A sleuth gets involved in a melancholy mystery that unravels the dark past of a close friend.
Restaurateur and amateur investigator Jane Lawless and the outrageous (and outrageously outfitted) Cordelia Thorn head to Lost Lake to provide cheer and respite to their friends Tessa and Jill. Jane imagines that her time will be spent cooking for the longtime couple while Tessa’s sprained ankle heals, but it appears that something much greater is amiss in their hosts’ apparently idyllic lives. Although Tessa’s anything but forthcoming about whatever’s bothering her, Jill implores Jane to dig a little deeper. The situation is complicated by the arrival of Tessa and Jill’s nephew Jonah. The teen, whose girlfriend Emily is a Lost Lake local, seeks refuge at his aunts’ place. In Jonah’s absence, it appears that Emily may have gotten involved with Kenny, Jonah’s closest childhood friend, though neither of the two is being open with Jonah about their new relationship. Tessa and Jill struggle to rise above Jonah’s teen drama while Tessa’s secrets threaten the health of their otherwise stable union. A new possible love interest, meanwhile, gives Jane a bit of drama of her own.
A distinct improvement in this series, this tale is more coherent than its most recent predecessors (The Cruel Ever After, 2010, etc.), but also more somber in tone.