Havenwood, Minnesota, has never been much of a haven for Jillian Meade. Unloved, unhappy, more introspective than the town is comfortable with, Jillian, predictably, shook off the town’s snow and ice as soon as she could, but in 1979 she returns. A WWII expert for the Smithsonian, Jillian has ferreted out some things about her beautiful, elegant, distant mother that have shocked and enraged her. Grace Meade is supposed to have spent her war serving with distinction as an agent for British intelligence. Grace, half-French, had parachuted into occupied Paris to work with the Resistance. And it was in France, the story went, that she fell in love with Joe Meade, the downed American flier who became her husband and Jillian’s father. Not true, Jillian has learned. Far from being a hero, Grace was almost certainly a traitor, a black-hearted betrayer of innocent people, among them that downed American flier. A portion of what Jillian has discovered about her mother has also been sniffed out by FBI Special Agent Alex Cruz—and at least one other person. Before either Jillian or Alex can confront Grace, the mysterious interloper beats them to it; deadly Grace is rendered dead Grace; and Jillian somehow finds herself the leading suspect..
Smith’s sixth (The Innocents Club, 2000, etc.) is a thin whodunit weighed down by an abortive attempt to pad it into something more ambitious.