A village busybody investigates a murder.
Grace Tolliver, who thinks her stint as a former California probation officer has taught her to recognize the difference between good guys and bad, relocates to quaint Barnstable on Cape Cod and hires a parolee, Duane Kerbey, when she needs added help for her new venture as owner of Pearl’s Antique Lamps and Shades shop. Unfortunately, when she sends Duane to pick up an item from the home of posh ex-model Danielle Whitney, he finds the glamourpuss dead. Given his past record, it’s no surprise that he’s promptly arrested and charged with murder. Did he do it? Grace and her other employees, geriatric Bella and ever-so-dapper Michael, think not and begin scurrying for clues. They finger a gigolo, a retired priest, a litigious real estate agent and a jealous best friend as possible suspects before they run afoul of a drug dealer with orange hair. Grace’s place is burglarized. A trip wire is set on her porch. A threatening letter is left in her shop. Dishy state police detective Andre Cruz stares deeply into Grace’s eyes and begs her to be careful. Nonetheless, she finds herself trussed up in a barn at the mercy of a knife-wielding killer.
Yes, the plot is wispy and the romance tepid, but Driscoll’s debut offers lots of tips on how to decorate lampshades for those who care.