A newcomer to a small Maine town rouses suspicions when the down-on-his-luck man he’s befriended is murdered.
The cozy hamlet of Haven Harbor, Maine, takes care of its own. Neighbors support Ike Hamilton by leaving out bottles and cans for him to return for deposit money to supplement his disability benefits. Even though Angie Curtis is community-focused, running the sewing collective shop Mainely Needlepoint, she’s never realized that Ike has a regular bottle-and-can route. Now she resolves to leave her recycling outside to join the cohort helping Ike. Before she can put her resolution into action, Angie learns that Ike’s been killed, and the close-knit neighbors are shocked to think there might be a murderer in their midst. The insular community suspects teenage newcomer Leo of the crime. After all, he’s been secretive about his background, and he’d befriended Ike, even helping him with collections when Ike’s back was too sore for manual labor. High school teacher Dave Percy, who’s all-too-familiar with troubled youth, is convinced that Leo is more likely the victim of something shady than a perpetrator, and Angie’s instincts are in agreement. Angie and Dave team up to make a case for Leo’s innocence to the police, but when it comes out that Leo hasn’t been truthful with the law or his new allies, Angie isn’t sure what to think. She knows the only way to find the truth is to conduct her own investigation, fearlessly confronting everyone she suspects may be involved with Ike’s death in order to clear Leo’s name.
Themes concerning the welfare of both children and adults set Wait’s latest entry in her needlepoint series (Thread Herrings, 2018, etc.) apart from her even milder cozies.