A Crime Well Versed

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As librarian at Castleton Manor, the upscale literary retreat in Lighthouse Bay, Massachusetts, Faith Newberry cheerfully hosts various events for book lovers while accommodating the mansion's quirky guests. But during a poetry retreat, Faith's patience is tested by Emilie Smythe, an ill-mannered lecturer with an uncanny resemblance to Emily Dickinson. Emilie not only looks like Dickinson, but she dresses like her and also owns a Newfoundland named Carlo. Even stranger, Emilie claims to be Dickinson's great-great-granddaughter. No one believes her far-fetched story, but Emilie insists she has letters and documents to prove it.
Faith is stunned when Emilie gives her a Victorian beaded bag containing the papers and instructs her to determine their authenticity. But the next morning tragedy strikes . . . Faith and her friends discover Emilie's body washed up on a desolate beach.

It was widely known that Emilie was wealthy and eccentric and possibly even mad. Did she take her own life on the deserted beach? Or was she murdered? Even though an apparent suicide note is found, the list of suspects grows: The man walking on the beach the morning Emilie's body was discovered. Emilie's charming older brother and guardian. Her estranged half-sister who was left out of the family estate. And the poet at the retreat who publicly disparaged Emilie.

As Faith and her friends in the Candle House Book Club seek answers, a string of break-ins occurs around town. Is someone searching for Emilie's letters and documents? Can Faith and her friends -- including her protective feline companion, Watson -- finally close the book on this mystery?

The Characters

Undoubtedly Faith inherited her family's passion for books—her adoring grandmother and Aunt Eileen began sharing the enchanting world of literature with her at a very young age. Even today, as a smart, independent, 39-year-old woman, Faith finds that printed words on paper are her passport to another place and time. In her opinion, a perfectly written novel has the ability to make a reader laugh, cry, love and live. But with recent events unfolding around Faith in her new role as the Castleton Manor librarian and archivist, she learns that some stories are literally to die for!

The luxurious resort for booklovers and their pets draws its fair share of readers, writers, heroes and villains. Much to Faith's unwelcome surprise, she is quickly being penned as the main suspect in a mysterious tale involving the murder of Castleton Manor's previous librarian! This is not what Faith expected when she agreed to move to the dreamy seaside town of Lighthouse Bay and away from the hectic demands of Boston.

With the help of her clever cat, Watson, bright and beloved Aunt Eileen and her supportive new friends in The Candle House Book Club, Faith is determined to clear her name, keep her job and catch a killer.

Sometimes Faith wonders if she rescued Watson or if he rescued her when they met in a snowy alley 14 years ago. Saucy with a distinct air of mystery about him and the uncanny ability to tell if someone is of bad character, Watson adores Faith. He always keeps his protective emerald eyes on the lookout for her well- being, even if it lands him in odd -- and dangerous -- places around their fascinating new home in Lighthouse Bay.

Faith is thrilled to be living closer to her favorite aunt. A spry, witty widow in her 60s, Eileen is the head librarian at The Candle House Library nestled in the historic downtown area. She has lived in Lighthouse Bay all of her life, which makes her the go-to source for the latest local scoop. When she isn't chatting with residents and visitors or volunteering at her church or garden club, Eileen is quick to speak her mind about what's going on around town with the ladies of The Candle House Book Club. Although she suffers from arthritis, she doesn't let it stop her from being a vibrant, active woman. She shocked everyone recently when she traded in her old car for a new red convertible, claiming she still has a few surprises up her sleeve.

Seaside life keeps wife, mother of two, and Lighthouse Bay police officer Jan Rooney busy. Her sharp eye and no-nonsense attitude come in handy when helping to solve the mysteries of the town, and she has come to Faith's aid on more than one occasion. Off the clock, she enjoys reading classic works of fiction and creating beautiful pieces of art with clay. Although petite in stature, Officer Rooney is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to catching the bad guy.

Armed with an MBA from Harvard and an irresistibly charismatic smile, Wolfe is a savvy businessman -- and true gentleman -- who oversees the dealings of his family's century-old shipping business and other family-owned endeavors, including Castleton Manor. Having finally made peace after a tragic boating accident resulted in the death of his fiancée, Wolfe surprisingly finds that his guarded heart is slowly opening up to the manor's new librarian, her inquisitive stumpy-tailed cat, and the mysteries they continually find themselves mixed up in. But Wolfe is hiding a secret -- will trusting him put Faith in danger?