That acme of small-town American culture, Tinker’s Cove, Maine, is pulling out all the stops for Thanksgiving. Not only is there the Boot and Mitten Fund’s traditional pie sale, the traditional pep rally, and the football game between the Tinker’s Cove Warriors and the fearsome Gilead Giants, but this year, there may be an Indian uprising as well: the remnant of the town’s Metinnicut population has petitioned the Town Council for support in seeking federal recognition as a tribe in order to build a tribal casino, courtesy of Boston-based Mulligan Construction. When tribal leader Bear Sykes—flanked by Mulligan exec Jack O’Hara, tribal lawyer Chuck Canaday, and Andy Brown, whose turkey farm would become the site of the casino—raises the issue at a town meeting, he’s shouted down by rival Curt Nolan, who sees gaming as an insult to the Metinnicut’s heritage of environmental concern. But volatile Curt’s outrage is cut short by a Metinnicut war club, a valuable artifact on loan to the pep squad from the Winchester College collection curated by Professor Fred Rumford. Curt’s friends ask Tinker’s Cove’s amateur sleuth Lucy Stone (Christmas Cookie Murder, 1999, etc.) to find his killer. But Lucy has a more pressing mystery to solve: how to make a tasty, nutritious Thanksgiving dinner suitable for her diet-conscious teenage daughters, her ungrateful college-freshman son, his two vegan houseguests, and two total strangers from New York.
A mystery as belated and superfluous as Thanksgiving dessert makes this a disappointment to all who give a tinker’s damn about Tinker’s Cove.