Rigged for Murder

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Summer breezes along the Maine coast have blown the Schooner Days Celebration into Somerset Harbor, and Maggie Watson is hoping fair winds and calm seas hold for the festivities. The event is buoying the spirits of everyone in town, especially shy Fran Vosburg, whose friends from teenage sailing camp, now schooner captains, have put down anchor in the bay.

But everyone's celebratory mood is given the old heave-ho when ship captain and all-around scoundrel Derek Jacobs is poisoned by a rare clam toxin and Fran's new beau, Ruben, is arrested for the crime. Finding it unfathomable that Ruben could commit murder, the usually even-keeled Fran calls for all hands on deck to clear his name, and Maggie and her friends in the historical society work to turn the tide in his favor.

Meanwhile, handsome town alderman James Bennett has asked for Maggie's help on a bona fide treasure hunt. He's seeking the mysterious inheritance of Milo Peabody, an old salt who died recently and bequeathed his estate to the town, and left a trail of cryptic clues to his would-be fortune. Unfortunately, the quest takes a potentially deadly turn as it becomes clear someone else is bound and determined to claim Milo's riches at any cost. Dead men tell no tales, so it's up to Maggie and her friends to cast a wide net for the truth about both Milo's money and how Derek died. Will X mark the spot for Maggie and James's hidden treasure? Is there any way Fran and Ruben can sail off into the sunset? And can Maggie navigate these rough seas, or will she be overwhelmed by the swell of decades-old grudges and fresh wounds threatening to take her down with the ship?

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.