An editor who’s come back to her childhood home turns detective when her latest client winds up dead.
Now that she’s returned to Lenape Hollow in the Catskills, 68-year-old retiree Mikki Lincoln is prepared to relax and enjoy the good life alongside her cat, Calpurnia. To earn a little extra money, she does some freelance work as a book editor, offering novice writers guidance on the finer points of grammar. A few months later, young Tiffany Scott shows up unannounced at Mikki’s place with a full manuscript in tow. Though writers usually just send her work online, Mikki humors Tiffany, agrees to review the manuscript, which is a murder mystery, and even skims the first few pages, which look promising. Before she can return it to Tiffany, a call from the local police tells her Tiffany’s drowned with Mikki’s business card in her pocket. When the police officer says that Tiffany might have been murdered, Mikki begins to investigate, using Tiffany’s book as a springboard. She gets help from her closest childhood friend, scooter-riding Darlene Uberman, who’s not one to let her friend get into trouble alone. It’s a good thing Mikki has Darlene on her side, because she has to contend with her childhood history with the rest of the town, starting with her high school ex, Mike Doran. According to the cops, Tiffany’s grandmother Ronnie is a likely suspect for the murder, and the long animosity between Ronnie and Mikki makes it hard for Mikki to believe in Ronnie’s innocence—at least until she gets to know Tiffany’s husband, wealthy developer Gregory Onslow. Greg, a relative newcomer to town, owns Mongaup Valley Ventures, and Mikki suspects that he had the most to gain from Tiffany’s death, if only Mikki can get to the bottom of it.
The signature cozy style of Dunnett’s Liss MacCrimmon series (X Marks the Scot, 2017, etc.) translates easily to this editorially focused new venture.