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by Margaret Maron

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4555-4528-5
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

The unlikely murder of an elderly relative sends a judge and her husband scurrying to investigate family history in order to find out who stands to gain from an old woman’s death.

When her cousin Sally Crenshaw shows up in her courtroom unexpectedly, Judge Deborah Knott assumes that her father’s sister Rachel has finally passed. Just the opposite is true. Aunt Rachel seems to be back from the brink and has been telling tales of times past. The extended family gathers around to listen and spend time with her, though they leave her to rest when she drifts off to sleep. Given her sudden, miraculous recovery, the family is shocked when they learn that Aunt Rachel died just 40 minutes after they left her to sleep. They’re even more shocked when it appears that she’s been murdered. Who would kill a woman already so close to death? Suspecting that there must have been some secrets in the stories Aunt Rachel was sharing, Deborah encourages her husband, Dwight, a police officer, to investigate. She senses that the murder may have something to do with the death of Jacob, Aunt Rachel’s beloved brother, who drowned in his 16th summer. Now Dwight has to go through Aunt Rachel’s reminiscences to determine a motive for murder—and it turns out there’s more than one secret she spilled that some wish would’ve stayed hidden.

Though Maron (The Buzzard Table, 2012, etc.) unearths more of Deborah’s family history for long-term fans, the main story is often burdened by too many characters and their tangential relationships.