A job as an author’s stand-in puts a sleuth in jeopardy.
Val Deniston left her job and her cheating boyfriend behind in New York when she moved into her grandfather’s huge old house in a little Chesapeake Bay community. After they were involved in several murder cases (Final Fondue, 2016, etc.), her grandfather Don Meyer took a correspondence course to become a detective. He’s mighty secretive, though, about his new job, which involves his changing his appearance. On a shopping trip with a friend, Val thinks she sees her grandfather in his new guise fall over in the parking lot, but when she rushes to help, she realizes the man is not Don but a look-alike who later dies. As it turns out, the dead man is Emmett Flint, an actor in the same group as Val’s boyfriend, Gunnar, who recently fought with him. Now that Flint’s died from an overdose of blood-pressure medication, the police consider Gunnar a suspect. When Val caters a dinner party for reclusive author Rick Usher, she's shocked to find her grandfather there, impersonating him—and realizes that both Don and Emmett had been dressed up as Usher. Although she has problems of her own—the health club restaurant she manages may have to close—the prospect that someone trying to kill Usher may kill Don instead forces her to put them aside and team up with him to find the truth. Usher lives with his wife, her assistant, and his co-author in the House of Usher, where he turns out Poe pastiches and immerses himself in all things Poe, a situation no more macabre than the one Val finds herself in as she struggles to protect her grandfather.
Cooking tips and Poe lore help move the mundane mystery along to a satisfying if not surprising conclusion.