Murder rocks the quiet Mississippi town of Riverport.
Jessie Schroeder, author of the popular children’s series “Emily Says,” has returned to her family home after a wrenching divorce and the death of her mother. Her new life is torn asunder by her discovery of murdered townswoman Margaret Benson. Jessie had gone to visit Margaret at the behest of her gardener, reformed alcoholic Willy Bachmann, whom everyone but Jessie has already blamed for the crime. When small clues don’t add up, Jessie tries to convince Sheriff Gil Keller, her high-school crush, to take a closer look. After Willy is found drowned, Jessie convinces Gil to order an autopsy, which he perhaps does more to promote their budding romance than because he thinks Willy was murdered. Meantime, Jessie begins to have suspicions about the Industrial Development Authority, which a new mayor and a smooth-talking property developer have helped establish. Her overprotective cousin Frank is involved but reluctant to discuss it. Jessie wonders why Margaret’s late husband, a very shady character, and several other town families in on the ground floor of the scheme have nothing to show for it. Her pointed questions prompt threats and an eventual attempt on her life that blows the case wide open.
Majerus’s debut provides sympathetic characters, a touch of romance and a teasing mystery.