Hope and Maggie have barely finished their first aperitifs when the inn’s tranquility is shattered by the arrival of Alexander and Lisa Antippas and Lisa’s actress sister, Glory. Imperious and rude, these Hollywood one-percenters quickly turn the inn upside-down with their demanding behavior, igniting a flurry of speculation and gossip among staff and guests alike.
But the disruption soon turns deadly. After a suspicious late-night fire is brought under control, Alex’s charred body is found in the ashes. Enter the town’s deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, Hope’s long-estranged son and Maggie’s former student. A man who’s finally found his footing in life, Buster needs a win. But he’s quickly pushed aside by the “big boys,” senior law enforcement and high-powered state’s attorneys who swoop in to make a quick arrest.
Maggie knows that Buster has his deficits and his strengths. She also knows that justice does not always prevail—and that the difference between conviction and exoneration too often depends on lazy police work and the ambitions of prosecutors. She knows too, after a lifetime of observing human nature, that you have a great advantage in doing the right thing if you don’t care who gets the credit or whom you annoy.
Feeling that justice could use a helping hand–as could the deputy sheriff—Maggie and Hope decide that two women of experience equipped with healthy curiosity, plenty of common sense, and a cheerfully cynical sense of humor have a useful role to play in uncovering the truth.
Maggie and Hope are friends 'of a certain age' who are visiting Maine. Hope's son Buster is the local sheriff. Because he doesn't have room to put them up during their stay (do you think he planned it that way? *lol*), they stay at the local B&B style hotel, the Oquossoc Mountain Inn. The falling economy has hit the area hard and the inn is the biggest employer in town.
A couple plus one sister from Hollywood come to stay in the inn for a couple of days. They have the aggravating entitlement that comes from being rich and famous. And that's just the women. The husband is just downright rude. I would love to be a character in the book not working for the inn so I could give him a piece of my mind!
A day or so after Maggie and Hope's arrival, they are woken in the middle of the night to evacuate due to a structural fire. It appears to have started in the room where the obnoxious man was staying. (He was in a different room from his wife and her sister because he wanted to smoke, and she had her little dog with her.) But the other half is not known until the man's charred body onto the gurney. And that's all I'm going to say about something that adds an extra layer of gruesomeness to the death.
The state police get involved and Buster is kind of shoved out of the way. Now when we first met Shep, one of the 'big boy' law enforcement investigators comes to town, I was thinking he was a character I could like. Then he opened his mouth. Think of the most patronizing, self-important person you know, add a state badge, and raise by a factor of at least 2 and you get...Shep. Once they believe they have a suspect, they get tunnel vision and do not consider other possibilities. He doesn't even respect the local LEOs (Buster et al), so he's really irritated when to 'older' ladies start their own investigation. (Are you getting the sense that by this time, anything that get's under Shep's skin makes me want to give Hope and Maggie a standing ovation!?!)
Ms. Gutcheon brings several twists and turns to the story, which added to the enjoyment of the story. In the last chapter, it is apparent that Hope and Maggie are not finished with their dynamic duo ways. All I can say is - sign me up, ladies! I want to party with you two!
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)