Murder Simply Played

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Liz Eckardt still has a lot to learn about life in Pleasant Creek, Indiana. Expecting the dreary months of February and March to be an "off season" for her newly opened bed and breakfast, she is surprised to find that the Olde Mansion Inn will be filled with a lively group of alumni, graduates of the local high school. It is sectional time for the area's high school basketball teams, and the town is swept up in "Hoosier Hysteria." Liz can't help but get into the spirit, and she looks forward to the upcoming game.

Old school rivalries resurface, and Liz has her hands full acting as referee to the inn's spirited guests -- until the coach of the hometown team is found dead in his office, seemingly of natural causes. But his bereaved fiancee, Kate Linder, thinks something is amiss. Could it be that the coach was the victim of foul play?

Liz soon learns not everyone in Pleasant Creek was a fan of the amiable Coach John Albertson. Suspicious acts of vandalism prior to his death suggest someone had it out for him, but who could it be? An abandoned daughter, a disappointed dropout, a colleague confined to the sidelines -- all had good reason to take Coach Albertson out of the game. But which of his rivals sported a grudge poisonous enough to facilitate murder?

With so many suspects in play, it's up to Liz to find out who would want to harm the coach. Tensions run high with the basketball tourney underway, and when Kate claims she's being followed, Liz worries that someone in Pleasant Creek suffers from an unusually sinister version of March Madness. But her investigation produces more questions than answers, and with one blocked shot after another, Liz feels like she's getting nowhere ... 

Until the killer targets her.

The Characters

Liz always loved and admired her mother, Abigail. She was an amazing, hard-working woman and role model. It is no surprise Liz inherited Abigail's determination and strong work ethic, earning Liz a successful career as one of Boston's most prominent attorneys. But even so, at 40 and with Abigail's recent death, Liz is running on empty.

When she inherits an old diary from Abigail's childhood after her mother's passing, Liz is stunned to read about the life Abigail had growing up in an Amish community. She'd never mentioned any of it to Liz. Ever. Why would her mother keep such a big secret?

Determined to find out what caused Abigail to abandon her Amish life at the age of seventeen, Liz leaves Boston and moves to her mother's hometown of Pleasant Creek, Ind. While she settles into the quaint and friendly community as the new owner of the Olde Mansion Inn, Liz is careful to keep her connection to the Amish a secret ... at least for now.

Will Liz's journey bring her the answers she longs for about her mysterious heritage ... or send her straight into harm's way?

Liz didn't realize when she bought the inn that she was also "inheriting" the resident lazy-yet-lovable English bulldog, Beans. She doesn't have the heart to give him away, so she adopts him into her new life. Although he spends most of his time sleeping by the front door, Beans still manages to get mixed up in the mysteries of Pleasant Creek.

Known for her delicious home-baked apple pies and impressive quilting skills, Mary Ann is one of Pleasant Creek's most loved citizens. She is also the proud co-owner of Sew Welcome, the fabric shop located on the first floor of the Olde Mansion Inn. Having lived in Pleasant Creek all her life, can Mary Ann help Liz learn more about their Amish neighbors and track down the true identity of her mysterious family?

An accomplished and sometimes wildly creative quilter, Sadie co-owns Sew Welcome with Mary Ann. Shrewd, and salty-tongued, 70-year-old Sadie says exactly what she thinks, which sometimes lands her in hot water. Sadie takes a liking to Liz right away, often treating Liz like one of her own children. With a bit of a reputation for being a busybody, Sadie always seems to know everything going on in Pleasant Creek. It's nearly impossible to keep a secret around her, but Liz must be careful not to reveal her real reason for coming to Pleasant Creek until the time is right.

Jackson is the handsome mayor of Pleasant Creek who also owns Cross Furniture Co., a local business that employs many of the Amish men in the area to help handcraft high-end wood furniture. Jackson is well-liked in the community and stays very involved in everything that goes on in town. From the moment they meet, he is attracted to Liz, but senses there is more to her than meets the eye.