Ellie Quicke has her hands full with daughter Diana’s pregnancy, a spot of sabotage in her latest renovation project, a bout of flu in her household and, of course, murder.
The project of turning rambling Pryce House, left to Ellie in old Mrs. Pryce’s will (Murder in Mind, 2012, etc.), into a hotel has been moving along apace until Hugh, the project manager, shows up at Ellie’s door complaining that Mikey has been breaking into the construction site and turning on faucets, unscrewing fittings and generally making a mess. That’s the same Mikey who’s been living with his mother, Vera, in an attic apartment at Ellie’s since shortly after the death of Vera’s husband, Edgar, Mrs. Pryce’s son. When Ellie goes upstairs to ask Vera to have a word with Mikey, she finds the single mom weak and feverish. Soon, the flu has hit not only Vera, but Ellie’s husband, Thomas. Ellie’s time tending her own sick is shortened, however, by her daughter’s pleas that she look after Diana’s invalid husband, Evan, while Diana—expecting her second child any day—tries to keep their real estate firm afloat. Meanwhile, DC Lesley Milburn asks Ellie to probe the deaths of several elderly and infirm ladies who may have had some help on their final journeys. Given the threats from social services to take Mikey into care and from Edwina Pryce to break Mrs. Pryce’s will, it’s not clear whether Ellie will be able to fulfill DC Milburn’s request before another soul is sent heavenward.
Heley’s 13th finds Ellie beleaguered but resolute as ever as she deals with the fallout from hell-bound good intentions.