Nestled on the rocky coast of Maine lies the town of Tinker’s Cove, a world apart from Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, yet boasting the same fine stock of strong men, comely women, and their gifted offspring. Lucy Stone (Turkey Day Murder, 2000, etc.) is the materfamilias of one such brood: Son Toby, home from Coburn University, is working on a research project with strapping young marine biologist Geoff Rumford while eldest daughter Elizabeth, struggling to earn money for her freshman year at Chamberlain College, slaves away at the Queen Victoria Inn under the watchful eye of Mrs. MacNaughton. (Junior Stones Sara and Zoe are restricted for the moment to precocious dinner-table observations.) Lucy earns the family’s keep working at the local newspaper as husband Bill, a manfully unemployed carpenter, builds a gazebo so breathtaking that Lucy’s best friend Sue Finch begs Lucy to allow her daughter Sidra to be married there. Lucy agrees, only to discover that Ron Davitz, Sidra’s intended, is a homely boor with no fashion sense and that his pushy New York mother, Thelma, is angling to wrest control of the wedding from poor Sue. Fortunately, somebody conks Ron on his unattractive noggin and dumps him over the side of the family yacht. Unfortunately, Police Lieutenant Horowitz seems bent on actually arresting someone for the crime, so Lucy has to prove that nobody she cares about did it—no matter how good an idea it might have been.
Meier’s latest is perhaps her most repellent, with values toxic enough to annihilate this year’s entire lobster catch.