Venturing outside Cabot Cove, Maine, Jessica Fletcher (A Date with Murder, 2018, etc.) finds the rest of the country just as dangerous.
During a visit to New York, Jessica is approached by fellow author Thomas Rudd, who claims that their publisher, Lane Barfield, is skimming money from their royalties. When Rudd fails to show up for a meeting, Jessica has only to follow her nose to his building to find out that he was killed in an apparent gas explosion that looks suspicious to both her and her old friend NYPD lieutenant Artie Gelber. When Jessica goes to her publisher's office and tells him Rudd is dead, Barfield can barely contain his excitement about The Affair, a first novel he's just acquired from an unknown author named Benjamin Tally. He thinks it will be a blockbuster, but he asks Jessica to read it to see if she agrees. Besides the manuscript he hands over to Jessica, Barfield had a copy of The Affair on a thumb drive he says Rudd stole. Jessica asks her accountant to look into Rudd's claim about her royalties, and he thinks there may have been something odd going on—but when Barfield dies, an apparent suicide, Jessica has a bad feeling about his death, too. She goes to Barfield's office and asks his assistant, Zara, a few questions about Barfield's mood and about The Affair, but Zara can't find anything in the computer system about the book or its author. On starting to read the manuscript during her trip home, Jessica finds it so gripping that she can’t put it down. It’s a bloody and harrowing tale of a young man who's been kidnapped and brought up to be a killer by the mysterious Guardians and who saves the president’s daughter from hired killers after she overhears a dangerous secret. Two other authors Barfield asked to read the manuscript are murdered, and Jessica is attacked and left for dead in her burning house before she can finish reading her copy. Deeply shaken and highly motivated, she joins forces with Gelber and her old friend Mort Metzger, the sheriff of Cabot Cove, to uncover the truth. All the clues lead to Washington, D.C., where they reveal a series of mind-blowing secrets.
An action-packed treat for conspiracy theorists that more skeptical readers may find hard to swallow.