An advice columnist is threatened when she warns a woman against being taken advantage of by a young playboy.
When they think of advice columnist Auntie Mabel of the Ravensford Chronicle, most people probably don’t imagine late-20s Laura Magee. But Laura’s got a knack for the voice of a grandmotherly adviser, and she’s hoping her gig will lead to a bigger role on the paper in the long term. Laura’s job gets harder when she receives a letter from an older woman who’s worried that she’s being exploited by her younger boyfriend. Auntie Mabel writes a column suggesting that the woman be wary, but before the paper even goes to press, Laura does a little research and finds that her correspondent has died. Even more alarmingly, Laura gets a letter from the supposed boyfriend telling her he knows she’s Auntie Mabel. He warns Laura of the repercussions of advising against his interests and intimates that he had a role in the untimely passing of the last Auntie Mabel. Even though she’s reluctant to get in touch with him, Laura knows she must tell Chief Michael Farantello. Laura and the chief of detectives had a rough breakup when his daughter decided he had to move back in with his former wife. It’s Farantello, though, who feels reluctant when Laura develops feelings for John Keeler, the officer he asks to keep an eye out for her. Laura’s determined to solve the mystery, but it’s possible that other people’s motives to keep the case quiet may be greater.
Laura’s return in the role of Auntie Mabel (The Blank Canvas, 2014, etc.) further develops the ongoing characters and relationships, though the culprit is a throwaway.