Wry, retired Toronto copper Mel Pickett, a widower, and his new wife Charlotte can’t quite decide which house to give up—his, hers, or the cabin he built himself on some nondescript land on the Larch River. When a dead body is found face down on the cabin floor, Wilkie and Copps of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) fear it might be Pickett, but it turns out to be Norbert Thompson, living (and now dying) there rent-free in exchange for caretaking duties. Did Aaron and Ruth Sproat, Norbert’s sister-in-law and her new husband, kill him rather than share his late brother’s chicken-farming profits with him? Perhaps, though Pickett thinks it more likely that he himself was the intended victim of some vengeful crook he had put away. But which one? Trading on an official OPP status he no longer has, Pickett interviews suspects and witnesses, riling more than a few, while sidestepping his nagging sister-in-law Verna, who’s busy fretting over Eliza, a writer who weekends in a trailer on his property, and wondering what to tell George Colwood, who thinks he’s Pickett’s son, the result of a love-her/leave-her wartime encounter. A hospital stakeout will go awry and the cabin will be torched before Pickett shoos the pious Sproats to their minister for counseling, watches Wilkie and Copps waylay the perp in an otter pond, and invites the granddaughter of his heart, no blood relation, home to meet Charlotte.
Like Buried in Stone (1996), a bare-boned plot with cozy overtones, animated by the tetchy Pickett-Charlotte relationship.