A Fedora Offense

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Valentine's Day is fast approaching in Somerset Harbor, Maine, and Maggie Watson is in love--with some gorgeous antiques she bids on at a local auction. She's not the only one interested in the furnishings being sold off from the magnificent Twisdem Mansion, though. An enigmatic man in a fedora is equally enamored with the items up for sale but disappears before Maggie can discover his true identity.

The excitement doesn't end when the bidding war is over. As Maggie inspects her new purchases, she finds hidden paperwork relating to a Vietnam War-era mystery and the fate of the entire Twisdem family. Soon, it becomes frightfully clear that others are equally intrigued by her discovery. Compelled to untangle the Twisdems' shadowy history, however, she ignores a series of increasingly sinister events and continues her search for the truth.

In addition to a break-in at her antiques shop and a mysterious figure outside her window late one night, Maggie is blindsided by a visit from her father, who appears on her doorstep with a surprise announcement. As she struggles to come to terms with his news and their painful shared history, it brings to light what could be missing from her own life as well.

Can Maggie and her father find common ground despite their distance in recent years? Is it possible for him, the ladies in the Historical Society, and handsome alderman James Bennett to convince Maggie that her avid curiosity is doing more harm than good? And, who is the mysterious Fedora Man, and what business does he have in Somerset Harbor?

If Maggie isn't careful, her determination to unravel the Twisdem family's secrets could easily lead to heartbreak for some and certain doom for others.

The Characters

Maggie Watson is 44 years old. She has lived in the beautiful town of Bennington, Vermont, most of her life with her husband, Richard, who was a successful professor of archeology at a nearby university. Together, they built a loving home and raised their daughter, Emily. And then, three years ago, Richard suddenly died. Maggie had thought they'd spend the rest of their lives growing old together in their cozy New England cottage. But with Richard's passing, Maggie's life changed in ways she never anticipated. And now with Emily off at college, Maggie still isn't sure quite how she fits into this new, lonely phase of her life.

Then, when she unexpectedly inherits Sedgwick Manor -- her aunt's 19th-century colonial mansion -- and the adjacent Carriage House Antiques shop, she wonders if this is the change she needs to move forward with her life. So, on a chilly day in mid-September, Maggie and her equally curious cat, Snickers, head to the small seaside village of Somerset Harbor, Maine, and begin an adventure that will change their lives.

June has run the Carriage House Antiques shop for over 10 years and was a close friend and confidant of Maggie's late aunt. She's outgoing and witty, and she has a natural talent for decorating with antique furnishings. Maggie loves June's enthusiastic spirit and caring nature, warming up to her immediately. It's no surprise that June soon becomes Maggie's best friend and "partner in crime" as they dig into the mysteries of Sedgwick Manor.

Maggie's daughter is warm and friendly with a big, bright smile. She's always been close to her mother -- even more so since her father died three years ago. But now she has left Maggie in order to study nursing at St. Joseph's College in Maine. Maggie understands that Emily needs space to spread her wings and become the independent, responsible young woman she raised her to be, but she still misses her daughter.

An avid quilter, Ruth is the president of the Somerset Harbor Historical Society. She extends a warm welcome to Maggie and invites her into this small group of friendly women. Maggie takes an immediate liking to her. Ruth offers to help Maggie solve the mysteries of the antique pieces found in Sedgwick Manor. She has lived in Somerset Harbor her entire life and always seems to know the buzz around town. Ruth knew Maggie's aunt Evelyn very well, and Maggie can't help but wonder if Ruth might also know Evelyn's secrets.