A retired teacher’s unwanted project leads her to a killer.
Returned from Maine to her childhood home in Lenape Hollow, New York, Mikki Lincoln became a freelance editor to pay for some urgently needed repairs and immediately stumbled into a murder (Crime & Punctuation, 2018, etc.). Now her old friend Darlene Uberman and her frenemy Ronnie North are pushing her to spruce up a play for the town’s quasquibicentennial. The original script was written 25 years ago for the bicentennial by high school teacher Grace Yarrow, who had theatrical ambitions and hasn't been seen in town for years. The town council and the historical society would love to take advantage of an increase in Catskills tourism generated by a new casino and nearby Bethel Woods, the site of Woodstock, now home to a museum and popular concert venue. When Mikki arrives at the historical society to read the only copy of the script, which is badly written and factually incorrect, director Gilbert Baxter refuses to let her take it home. So she returns the next day just in time to join the repairmen working to fix a wall watch it collapse, revealing a semimummified body hidden in a closed-up fireplace. When the body is identified as Grace Yarrow’s, Mikki resolves to help Detective Hazlett despite his warnings of danger. After all, she’s one of the few townsfolk with an alibi, since she was living in Maine when Grace was killed. Rumor has it the teacher spread her favors around pretty freely, from high school boys to married men. Although Mikki wasn’t on hand to watch or listen, many of her friends were, and some had reason to hate Grace. Even while overhauling the play, Mikki finds enough sleuthing time to make her the target of someone who will go to any length, including more murder, to hide past secrets.
Dunnett's new heroine has charm and smarts.