Retired schoolteacher Marguerite Smith--divorced and living alone with dog Rusty on Cape Cod--has her quiet routine shattered one morning when she finds the bludgeoned body of archaeologist Peter Dafoe in a locked shed on her property. Dafoe, gifted but quirky, headed a Kings College dig on the beach nearby, looking for Native American artifacts. Eastham police chief Frank Nadeau and Detective Medeiros busily explore motives, means, and alibis of the archaeological team, as well as search the pair of cottages in which they all lived for the duration of the project. There are hints that Dafoe was on the brink of a momentous discovery; his estranged wife, Jennifer, would benefit from his death; so would Adonis-like team member Dell, next in line to head the venture. Marguerite's involvement deepens when Jeb Newcomb, her nephew, becomes a suspect. Finally, though, an ancient skull, a missing notebook, and some mysteriously returned library books all lead her to a near-disastrous nighttime excursion--and the unmasking of an unlikely killer. An overly contrived tale threaded with mini-lectures on tribes archaic and modern (the Cape's First Families and how they grew), and yet the heroine, complete with rampant curiosity and tempting recipes, joins a legion of down-homey sister sleuths. An implausible but painless debut.