Once upon a time, Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree was a hotshot money manager to Manhattan's rich and dreadful - until she left city life behind for a centuries-old fixer-upper in the quaint seaside town of Eastport, Maine. But even this tiny haven has its hazards - and they can be astonishingly deadly...
What would you do if a long-buried book was unearthed from beneath your 1823 fixer-upper a book containing your name written in blood? That's the mystery Jake faces in the midst of her latest old-house renovations. But it's only the first in a town better known for its scenic views and historic homes than its body count. Now Jake is putting aside her hammer and fixing to find someone who's got the blueprint for a perfect murder.
In this multilayered cozy, the 11th in Graves s home repair series (after 2006 s Trap Door), Jacobia Jake Tiptree has uncovered what looks to be a very old book while fixing up her 1823 house in Eastport, Maine. Local rare book expert Horace Robotham offers to take a look at it, but then dies in what appears to be a mugging gone wrong. Jake doesn t think too much about this until a stranger drives up to her house three weeks after Horace s death. He introduces himself as a friend of Horace s, says he might have some information about the book and then asks Jake if he can hide a gun in her house. Meanwhile, Jake s father is putting the moves on her sassy housekeeper, Bella. Although the development of minor characters is a little thin, local color and an entirely unexpected denouement combine for engaging reading.