Rose Caffrey’s sister is dead. And that’s only the beginning of Rose’s problems.
Rose, a performance artist, is tall, dark and arty, with a string of broken romances. Her very different sister Karen was a short blond college professor, immune to romance, who apparently fell from a ladder and broke her neck. Her money goes to a scholarship fund, and her beat-up southern Illinois farmhouse to Rose, who’s always short of cash and anxious to sell. While the outside is rough, the inside is partially restored. But the most amazing part is the room whose walls are painted with murals that Karen was having uncovered by art restorer Alex Hague. Buried for over 175 years under wallpaper and paint, the murals fascinate Rose, especially when she learns that the paintings may be related to the Trail of Tears, a branch of which passed right through the area. As she goes about cleaning up Karen’s research materials in various locations, Rose is attacked, possibly by a relative of the house’s original owners, the Braun family. She eventually finds part of a diary belonging to Emily Lord Braun, who might well have been the mysterious painter. Unable to resist investigating, Rose fights her attraction to Alex and finds that a good many people are lying to her about the murals, which could be very valuable. Despite her reservations, Rose joins Alex on a dangerous hunt for clues to reveal the secrets of the past.
In a departure from her Leigh Girard mysteries (Death’s Door, 2009, etc.), Lukasik has crafted a highly intriguing tale loaded with suspense and historic interest.