A paralegal and her realtor aunt find sleuthing a dangerous hobby.
Apple Mariani is at an estate sale for Edgar Dwardene’s home, which she did the title search on and Aunt Tressa sold, when appraiser Lou Marshall, whom Tressa had dated, is found stabbed with one of the former owner’s antique daggers. Worried when the police chief puts Tressa high on his list of suspects, the duo decides to do a little detective work on their own. Their fears increase when their friend Lillian Bilodeau, an older woman who lives alone in a trailer, vanishes, leaving her beloved cat behind. The house at the center of the crime now belongs to Edgar’s nephew Blake, a former classmate of Apple's who plans to use the proceeds to move to Manhattan, where his fiancee Celeste Frame can fulfill her dream of opening an organic bakery. Josh Baker, a young man who was renting a room in the house, claims rather improbably that Blake’s late uncle Edgar Dwardene had given him an antique car. Apple also has her doubts about Jack Darby, the handyman who built all the cabinets for the knife collection, who has developed a romantic interest in Tressa. Perhaps answers can be found in the journal of Edgar’s long-dead uncle Frederic, who relates a 60-year-old tale of obsessive love for a lady known as Dora. The pair’s ever more frantic search for the frail Lillian will put them in danger from a heartless killer.
Reilly’s debut uses her expertise in title searches to create a pleasing mystery with some interesting twists. First of a planned series.