Welcome back to New Kassel, Missouri, where the citizens drink Dr. Pepper, go on hayrides, and flirt with their spouses--and where somebody has thrown Marie Dijon down her basement stairs, ransacked her grave, and run genealogist Victory O’Shea (Family Skeletons, 1997) off the road when her interest in the case gets a little too strong. Torie’s convinced that the secret the grave-robber was looking for lay in the papers Torie filched (in a pricelessly unconvincing nocturnal visit with her two small children) from Marie’s house—papers that tie Marie’s death not only to a local suicide in 1922, but back three hundred years to Louis XIV’s Man in the Iron Mask. And she’s willing to take on the most unlikely allies: the playfully hostile sheriff, who’s now conducting an affair with Torie’s wheelchair-bound mother (!), a translator who can help Torie with the labyrinthine French of Marie’s letters, even the blustery town gossip, who sets a sublimely ingenuous trap for the killer by announcing in her newspaper column that Torie’s sitting on the vital evidence. Fans of Joan Hess may find the odd chuckle in this warmhearted album. For readers less infatuated with small-town comedy, the big news is that the Man in the Iron Mask isn’t Leonardo DiCaprio.