Deadly Prospect

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Carriage House Antiques is abuzz with the news that a lost painting by famed 1920s artist Edmund Brooks may exist; the priceless artwork just might be located on nearby Prospect Island, where Edmund vanished in 1925. Maggie Watson has just been hired to inventory one of the enchanting summer cottages on the island, and she can't help but wonder: Does Briarcliffe Cottage hold more than antique books and porcelain teacups . . . does it hide the clues needed to solve these decades-old mysteries?

Maggie brings along two historical society friends to help, and they all immediately agree that Prospect Island and its regal cottages are pretty as a picture. But it's not long before unsettling discoveries and unexpected intruders paint an altogether more sinister portrait of the town. 

To complicate matters, tempers are flaring on the island as billionaire investor Peter Stratton unveils plans to demolish homes and remodel almost every square inch into an exclusive resort. It appears that no one but Peter wants his plan to work, but what is he willing to do to succeed? And what to what lengths will the local residents go to ensure that he doesn't? 

Isolated on the island, Maggie and her friends struggle to untangle the mysteries of both today and yesteryear. By determining what really happened to Edmund, the ladies just might be able to track down his missing masterpiece. However, someone else seems bound and determined to find it first, and they'll stop at nothing to get what they want - even, it would seem, murder.

Can Maggie uncover Edmund's secrets before she or one of her friends pays the ultimate price?

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.