A suspicious handyman, a cold case, and a current murder leave a former tour guide confused but determined.
Callie Aspen is back in Heart's Harbor, Maine, to help her great-aunt Iphy with her literary-themed tea shop and her responsibilities maintaining magnificent Haywood Hall as a venue for activities. Iphy rents her a fixer-upper cottage and puts up a notice for a handyman. It’s answered by Quinn, a complete stranger whom at least Callie's Boston terrier, Daisy, likes. Conflicted about her decision to move and give up a job she loved, Callie recalls her Christmas visit (In Peppermint Peril, 2018), when she and Deputy Falk hit it off, and wishes he hadn’t cooled off. When Falk shows up looking for a missing border collie, they find him together, but Callie temporarily hands the dog over to Quinn since the owners no longer want it. Callie has offered to organize her great-aunt's Fourth of July tea party, and Quinn suggests she read back issues of the local paper to find material for the "living history" theme; that's how she finds a story from 1989 about the mysterious disappearance of actress Monica Walker, whose stay at the Cliff Hotel was troubled by a former lover hounding her. Monica and a fishing boat vanished, never to be found. Did she sail off, or was she murdered? Journalist Joe Jamison fobs off Callie and Quinn with platitudes but later admits to Callie that he knows things he’s unwilling to share with Quinn. When Jamison turns up murdered, Quinn’s furious with Callie for making him a suspect. For her part, she’s angered by all the lies he’s told her. Intrigued by the long-missing actress, Callie interviews everyone she can find who was around when she vanished and wonders whether the secrets she’s unearthed will lead to a conclusion or another death.
Not much of a mystery, though there are plenty of suspicious characters, romantic overtones, and two delightful canines.