The Christmas Riddle

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It's Christmastime in Somerset Harbor, Maine, and the little town is aglow with the warmth of the holiday season. Maggie Watson -- together with her friends in the historical society -- is combing the Carriage House Antique Shop and the town for the perfect decorations to adorn the local Hayward Mansion in festive splendor. What begins as a typical trip to an estate sale quickly turns into a complex tale of intrigue when Maggie makes a shocking discovery amid the piles of unwanted junk: a beautiful mercury glass vase with a dark secret.

Nestled inside the vase is a heavy, jewel-encrusted key and an anonymous note pleading for help. It appears someone in Somerset Harbor has something other than peace and goodwill on their minds this season. But who has threatened the writer of the note? And when? Is the message as old as the vase, or does Maggie still have time to save the person who wrote it?

As Maggie strives to unlock the truth, she learns that Adele Kessler, the late owner of the vase, had become a recluse in recent years, surprising everyone after her many years of hosting renowned social events, including fabulous Christmas parties. Her estranged son hasn't been heard from since his days as a troubled teenager, and the only other person who might be able to provide answers -- a reporter -- has gone missing. There are secrets and lies at every turn, but each serves to strengthen Maggie's resolve to find out who wrote the note she found, and to save the mystery woman from whatever horrible fate awaits her.

This Christmas, Maggie once again finds herself in possession of the key to one of Somerset Harbor's captivating mysteries, and she must rely on her faith and friendships to guide her through the many twists and turns of her most riveting riddle yet. But when she finds what the ancient key unlocks, will she be prepared for what she finds inside?

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.