Scene of the Chime

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It's a beautiful spring in Pleasant Creek, Indiana's Amish country. Liz Eckardt, owner of the Olde Mansion Inn bed-and-breakfast, is looking forward to getting her hands dirty by planting flowers in the public garden she has cosponsored with her friends from the Sew Welcome Shop. The design will be the perfect complement to Pleasant Creek's historic Swiss glockenspiel, which stands nearby and is being renovated with the assistance of Liz's guest, a historic preservationist. Liz is surprised to learn that both the clock tower and her home were planned by the same architect, and built by the same family.

Yet Liz must face another surprise when she discovers, in a third-floor storage closet, a couple of boxes of personal items. She'd thought they belonged to her adopted son, Steve, but they're not his. Realizing they must have been left by the previous owner, Liz dials her up. Nancy Redfield's not interested in returning to Indiana -- until Liz tells her there's also something odd about the shape and size of the room in which she found the boxes. Nancy wastes no time flying back to Pleasant Creek. But twenty-four hours have hardly passed when she is found dead, facedown at the base of the tower. Her number is clearly up. But on whose watch did the murder occur?

The alarming fact is that Sadie Schwarzentruber, Liz's dear friend and a member of the Material Girls quilting group, had a troubled past with the late woman. Nancy's ex-husband is also in town and he's certainly no jewel. Meanwhile, his friend, a real estate developer, is setting his sights on the Olde Mansion Inn and the winding path around Jaynes Lake. And what about the mysterious young man who's staying upstairs and snooping around? He seems ticked off about something, but what?

Liz will have to expose the inner workings of a most devious plot if she's to make sure a killer does the jailhouse clock . . . before the bell tolls for someone else.

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.