A move to Wisconsin’s wild Door County peninsula changes a nomadic college teacher’s life in a way she had never imagined.
Her mastectomy sends Leigh Girard fleeing her husband and the academic life in Chicago for a job with a small newspaper. Her first assignment, an obit for alcoholic restorer Carl Peck, turns into a hunt for a murderer. Carl’s wife Eve suspects his death was no accident, and a tox screen shows that he was killed by a poison mushroom. Leigh soon discovers a link between the local librarian’s suicide and the Peck murder. But Carl and Eva’s daughter Sarah, a talented, rebellious painter whose childhood friend was the late librarian, is instantly hostile to Leigh’s queries. Although the local police are slowly investigating the two inexplicable deaths, Leigh can’t stop digging around, especially when she finds the bones of a baby in a cave, despite the enmity of almost all the principals. On the domestic front, Leigh becomes attracted to her boss, Jake Stephens. He returns her interest, but her mastectomy has destroyed her self-worth. Although she’s run off the road and ends up in the hospital with Antabuse poisoning, she keeps on investigating until a meeting with the murderer answers all her questions while threatening her with death.
The stark beauty of the Door peninsula provides the backdrop for this riveting debut thriller. Plan on an all-nighter.