The discovery of a corpse delights three budding Miss Marples and one Nancy Drew.
Much as Alberta Scaglione is enjoying her beautiful lakeside Cape Cod cottage, inherited from her generous Aunt Carmela (Murder on Memory Lake, 2018), she knows that just sitting and gazing out at the clear blue waters doesn’t promote a healthy lifestyle. So Berta agrees to join her granddaughter, Jinx Maldonado, on her daily jogs through Tranquility Park. It isn’t long before they discover a lifeless body lying beneath a homemade treehouse. Berta calls the police but not before she summons her sister, Helen, and her sister-in-law, Joyce, to the scene, since she knows that investigating a murder is just what the four of them need as a supplement to their weekly canasta games. The rural New Jersey police force must be a little shorthanded, since Chief Vinny D’Angelo doesn’t seem to mind the four amateurs poking around. They ID the corpse as local vagrant Jonas Harper, whose father had built the treehouse for him when he was a boy. But what was grown-up Jonas doing in his childhood haunt that led to his death? While the ladies discuss the case over root beer–flavored vodka, the police are arresting Jinx’s roommate, Nola Kirkpatrick, for the murder. It’s clear to the foursome that that’s a mistake, one which takes time, ingenuity, and several additional flavors of vodka to rectify.
The triumph of the four self-appointed sleuths may set a new benchmark in the cozy world, where members of the public simply take over murder investigations as the police, and perhaps readers, watch in bemusement.