A retired teacher struggles to solve two murders committed decades apart.
Although Grace Kimball’s days teaching English are long over, she’s remained good friends with many of her former students in Endurance, Illinois. So when Emily Folger seems on the brink of being charged with her husband Conrad’s murder, Grace feels called to help. Emily has plenty of cause to hate the cruel banker, who physically abused her without mercy for years on end. But, reasons Grace, aren’t there others, like the many customers he denied loans over the same period, who had equal cause to wish Conrad Folger dead? While she mulls Emily’s predicament, Grace finds an unlikely lead. Under the floorboards of Lockwood House, her boyfriend Jeff Maitlin’s newly purchased historic home, Grace finds the diary of Olivia Havelock Lockwood. Back in 1893, Olivia made the trip at age 17 from the tiny town of Anthem to live in Endurance with her aunt, hoping to learn wifely skills that would allow her to find a suitable marriage. Life with Judge Charles Lockwood, though, is anything but charmed for Olivia, who like Emily is beaten for myriad trespasses, real and imagined. Can Olivia’s story hold the key to Emily’s safety? Grace must work quickly before police detective TJ Sweeney charges Emily with Conrad’s murder.
Van Kirk (Three May Keep a Secret, 2014, etc.) balances present and past crimes deftly in her second foray into detection.