Only murder can top a large family gathering for Thanksgiving.
Divorced schoolteacher Jocelyn Shore has traveled from Austin to the family ranch for a down-home holiday. Her uncle Kel, who runs the ranch for his elderly uncle Herman, goes ballistic when he sees his daughter Ruby June with a black eye. Kel threatens his son-in-law Eddy with a shotgun, but that’s just the start of trouble. Jocelyn’s boyfriend, homicide detective Colin Gallagher, is staying in a nearby motel hoping that Jocelyn will join him even though she still has feelings for another man who’s trying to reignite their romance. Jocelyn’s cousin Kyla, her sometime partner in sleuthing, has fascinated T.J. Knoller, Kel’s next-door neighbor, who runs a hunting lodge complete with exotic animals and owns a racehorse set to win a big purse at the local fairgrounds. Even though T.J. is suing Uncle Kel over some disputed land, Kyla stubbornly continues to enjoy his company. When Eddy’s found shot to death on a remote part of Kel’s ranch, Kel is the No. 1 suspect even though Ruby June has vanished. Jocelyn saw Eddy in an argument with a questionable local contractor whose horse is the main competition for T.J.’s. Somehow, Uncle Herman ends up owning the horse, which handily wins the race when T.J.’s jockey is shot out of the saddle. Jocelyn is willing to take dangerous chances to prove Kel innocent, including taking a chance on love.
Jocelyn’s third adventure (Death Makes the Cut, 2012, etc.) is a charming combination of humor and romance with a nice little mystery.