Spice shop owner Piper Prescott finds the demise of her chief rival for the police chief’s affections both a blessing and a curse.
Since sharing a plate of nachos at North of the Border is the Brandywine Creek equivalent of a printed engagement announcement, locals have long assumed that handsome police chief Wyatt McBride and willowy realtor Shirley Randolph are an item. So when Shirley’s naked corpse is discovered in a pond on McBride’s property, a lovers’ quarrel is the presumed motive, while means and opportunity speak for themselves so loudly that McBride is temporarily suspended, leaving Sgt. Beau Tucker in charge of the investigation. And tickled as Piper may be to have Shirley out of her way, she doesn’t like having McBride in Tucker’s cross hairs one bit. So as in Curried Away (2016), Piper once more has to pry suspicion from a close friend by finding the real criminal herself. And this time she has a leg up on her search. Dimwitted handyman Ned Feeney, who’s reluctant to invade Shirley’s closet to find an outfit for her to be buried in, gives the key to Piper, who can now snoop at will. But shouldn’t her newfound access to Shirley’s house be less exciting than her newfound access to McBride? Oust focuses on deduction rather than seduction, leaving Piper’s romance—which actually does progress—to develop in the dark.
The puzzle’s OK but may disappoint fans who like their murders spicier.