Tools of the Traitor

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner in Somerset Harbor, Maine, and Carriage House Antiques owner Maggie Watson is busy as a beaver. Her daughter, Emily, a successful nurse, is coming home from Boston with her boyfriend, Dr. Austin Prescott, to spend the holiday at Sedgwick Manor. And, the antiques shop has partnered with preservationist James Bennett on a lucrative, though time-consuming, renovation job at nearby cottage enclave Whispering Woods.

The projects in progress come to a halt, however, when increasingly suspicious pranks put plans on hold. There's no quick fix, unfortunately, and the situation quickly goes from annoying to ominous when Maggie discovers a stain in one of the derelict cottages that looks a lot like blood. Did something nefarious happen at Juniper Lodge, or is Maggie overreacting?

As tension surrounding Whispering Woods builds, Maggie finds herself caught up in disquieting family drama and neighborhood grudge matches. But who is the architect of this chaos? Is it the neighbor with the dashed pipe dream, the unruly teenagers bent on destruction, or the estranged father determined to reconstruct his family by any means necessary? Any of them could be engineering the malicious activity.

Happiness surrounding Emily's visit provides some much-needed shelter from the mounting troubles at the cottages. However, Maggie has a sinking feeling that if she misses her window of opportunity for solving the crime, the perpetrator could become further unhinged. Can she hammer out the facts before the walls come tumbling down around her? If she doesn't build her case soundly, she could be drawing up a blueprint for disaster.

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.