‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the mannequin factory things were not quite what they seemed—especially not for the body of the woman splayed out in the dark warehouse with a bloodied mannequin arm next to her. Nothing like a nice little murder to stir things up right before the holidays in this quaint New England town where absolutely nothing ever happens.
With Halloween fast approaching, Alex Harris, owner of the Always Prepared temporary agency, has her hands full keeping her assistant from turning the office into a house of horrors. But that’s nothing compared to finding the body of one of Indian Cove’s high society poisoned.
With her wedding over and the words I do just a memory, Alex Harris boards a plane with her new husband, John, bound for Brussels. Along for the ride are her sister, Samantha, and dentist brother-in-law Michael. Having your sibling along on your honeymoon might sound strange but when the body of a young Belgian woman shows up in the powder room of John’s old college chum, Alex is glad her sister is along to keep her company.
Inviting a group of women over for a night of Mahjong sounded like a good idea to new bride Alex Harris Van der Burg, but with a storm raging outside and a battle brewing between two of the players inside, things aren’t working out quite as planned. And then the lights go out adding one more catastrophe to the evening. When a guest is discovered with Alex’s brand new cake knife, a wedding gift, stuck in her back, the party really starts to head downhill.
When the vegan wife of a local butcher shows up dead, the police think the husband is the most likely suspect. But the dead woman’s daughter is certain her father did nothing wrong and hires Alex Harris to find the real killer. What Alex discovers is Maria Kravec had a nasty streak, using her blog to take revenge on her philandering husband. But the more Alex probes, a whole slew of suspects presents itself. And with her grandmother hanging out with a local rosary bead-making tattoo artist, her mother adopting a lively dog and her nephew acquiring a pet rat, things couldn’t be more complicated.
When Alex Harris and her grandmother Meme attend a pickleball supper hoping to sell some of their Calendar Boys calendars to their ideal demographic—women on hormone replacement therapy—they never thought the evening would turn deadly. But when local lecherous bully, Humphrey Bryson, ends up in the ladies room with one of his beloved dill pickles shoved down his throat, Alex springs into action to find the murderer. Everyone at the party is a suspect, but Meme worries the investigation may lead to one of the senior Calendar Boys.
Alex Harris Van der Burg is looking forward to some time off with her guests, Gerard and Annie Willix. But when Sheldon Spiegel comes to town and has the nerve to get shot a few days before their arrival, Alex hopes her husband, police detective John Van der Burg, can solve the crime before Friday, say around noonish.
But their guests have different ideas. Gerard, a police detective in Belgium, immediately joins forces with John to find the murderer, while Annie and Alex conduct their own clandestine investigation trying to figure out why Mr. Spiegel thought his daughter had been switched at birth. With the help of Alex’s friend Shirley, a private investigator, and her lovable grandmother Meme and her cadre of white-haired accomplices, Alex and Annie are determined to find out if the person who switched the babies almost thirty years ago is also the person who put a bullet in Mr. Spiegel’s forehead.
Which dynamic duo will find the guilty party first—or will Annie and Gerard return to Belgium never having solved the crime. It’s a race to the end, or as Annie would say, Game on!
Having secrets can sometimes get you nailed!
Alex Harris thinks finding a place to celebrate her one-year anniversary sounds like a good idea, but when her husband arrests her sister for murder she has some serious thoughts about staying married to the guy! Her sister Samantha is clearly keeping a secret and refuses to give the police an alibi, but when she asks Alex to help solve the crime and clear her name, Alex is only too happy to jump in and prove her husband wrong. And then the police turn their attention to Samantha’s husband—another suspect with no alibi.
Could her sister or brother-in-law really have killed a local building inspector over his refusal to pass their new sunroom addition? Alex doesn’t think so and sets her sights on several others who had more than a good reason to nail the guy.
Something sinister is going on in this coastal New England town where the bodies seem to be piling up.