A delightful dinner at a posh hotel ends in murder.
Former social studies teacher Andy Gammon can never resist a historical mystery. But when she agrees to accompany her mother-in-law, Mayta, to the opening gala at the Grand Hotel of the Atlantic on the beautiful New Hampshire coast, she never imagines that she’ll find a body or immerse herself in a turn-of-the-century mystery. Andy’s tablemates include the bored boyfriend of Claudia Dean, who’s obsessed with the hotel’s history, which includes the mysterious disappearance of Marguerite, a young woman who later died in an asylum. When Claudia is found stabbed in one of the guest rooms, Andy’s sleuthing instincts kick in, and her long-suffering husband must care for their two children while Andy and Mayta locate and befriend Marguerite’s only known relative. Though she was from a well-off family and had become engaged to be married, Marguerite had been unhappy with the path her life was taking. At length, Andy learns that she’d run off from the hotel and married a local fisherman. After he drowned, her father placed Marguerite in a nearby mental hospital, a model of modernity in 1901. Andy goes so far as sneaking into the derelict asylum hoping to prevent another murder with roots in the past.
Like Andy’s first case (Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple, 2006), this one is studded with flashbacks to the historical past, this time providing provocative insights into the now defunct system of asylums.