A Ring of Deception

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When a nervous young girl arrives at Carriage House Antiques looking to sell an extravagant gold-and-emerald ring, owner Maggie Watson is intrigued. Where would the teen have come across such a valuable relic? And why is she so desperate to sell it? 

Maggie soon learns that the fascinating ring bears the insignia of Soloman Zane, a bloodthirsty pirate who terrorized the coastal town of Somerset Harbor, Maine in the 18th century. Zane’s fate is a mystery, but one that seems irrevocably linked to the family history of one of the town’s wealthiest and most well-connected matrons, Willa Ravenhurst. 

As the story goes, Mrs. Ravenhurst’s ancestor was kidnapped by Zane’s band of cutthroats and held for ransom. The incident was resolved under strange circumstances, and Maggie is left to wonder why a priceless piece of Zane’s jewelry should show up at her shop now, over three hundred years later. Yet when Maggie begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the Ravenhurst family lineage and the sudden reappearance of the ring.

Willa Ravenhurst has been known to tell her family’s story of adventure on the high seas to anyone who would listen, but lately she seems reluctant to discuss the event. Have recently unearthed secrets made her change her tune? Maggie’s investigation is hampered when a local blogger bent on circulating salacious gossip about the town’s past closes in on her latest acquisition. With each new development, the mystery of the ring -- and the fate of its murderous owner -- continues to slip through Maggie’s fingers.

She turns to the local historical society, her dear friend June McGillis and handsome town alderman James Bennett for help. The more she learns, the more convinced Maggie becomes that this series of unusual events is begging for answers.

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.