IN PEPPERMINT PERIL
By Joy Avon
Callie Aspen left the small town of Heart’s Harbor, Maine, after college to become a tour guide for a company specializing in trips to historic venues. With Christmas just one week away, she has taken a break from world traveling to work in her Great Aunt Iphy’s vintage tearoom.
Haywood Hall is the location for their next event, and Callie is traversing the fields of snow, taking the incredible cake and other items to the Hall in order to set up. Seems that the grand owner, Dorothea Finster, has invited all of the social elite to hear an announcement. The one person Callie hopes not to see is a man who, long ago, was the subject of her admiration: Stephen Du Bouvrais. Stephen is there but, fortunately, Callie feels no attraction for the man who is the future heir of Dorothea’s fortune.
When Callie opens the boxes to start setting up the cake, she finds a hole cut out in the middle of the top tier. It is her old friend, Sheila (who actually married Stephen) that lets Callie know an engagement ring will be placed inside the cake so that her future son-in-law (a boy she handpicked for her daughter) will get down on one knee and propose. Dorothea joins this little party and announces she has made changes to her will. From the town council members who want Dorothea’s funds for their own agenda; to Sheila, who only seems to have married into the Finster family to gain a lot of money when Dorothea finally kicked, are now in jeopardy.
The engagement ring comes up missing, and the eccentric gardener of Haywood turns up dead as a doornail in the conservatory. The suspects are numerous, and Callie finds herself working with the handsome Deputy Falk to unravel the mystery, bringing her face-to-face with the killer.
This is a great debut! It will be exciting to see who dies next in Heart’s Harbor, Maine.