Even in the quiet college town of Fort Collins, Colo., real estate can be murder.
Kate Doyle knows that the stress of divorce is compounded by the need to divide the property, sell the home and move elsewhere. In her three years as a realtor, she’s ached repeatedly for couples giving up both each other and their houses. In her friend Amanda Schuster’s case, though, the trauma is still deeper. Even as her lawyer is uncovering new evidence of her husband’s attempts to squirrel away the couple’s assets, Mark Schuster is stabbed to death by someone the police think is Amanda. The investigation is headed by Kate’s brother-in-law, Det. Bill Levitz, but he’s not inclined to abate his suspicions of Amanda or feed Kate any inside info. So Kate naturally sets out to dig up evidence of Amanda’s innocence on her own. That means evidence of somebody else’s guilt, but since Mark was an incurable philanderer whose latest conquest touched off a minor furor by weeping at his funeral, the field is a fertile one. Sefton deftly handles her obligatory scenes—Maggie’s rounds of variously indirect questioning, her unexpected romance, her discovery of a second corpse moments before “everything went black”—but there’s nothing here except for those scenes.
A bustling, formulaic debut soothing as warm milk despite the casualties. Kate’s sure to be back with more of the same.