A Fateful Sentence

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Spring is in full bloom at Castleton Manor, the upscale literary retreat in Lighthouse Bay, Massachusetts. Librarian Faith Newberry delights in the charming log cabin recently built in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's the perfect meeting place for the aspiring memoir writers who descend on the manor.

As Faith welcomes the guests, she's dismayed to witness animosity between them. It appears that the retired judge made more than a few enemies during his time on the bench. A shady businessman and a bitter magician blame the judge for unbalancing the scales of justice and seem intent on provoking him. 

While Faith worries about the tense atmosphere, the magician's reticulated python goes missing.

Faith attempts to keep the guests calm as she searches the manor for the missing python. But the snake has vanished without a trace. Faith's anxiety grows when the hostility surrounding the judge escalates and a guest is found dead. Was it the python? Or was it murder? 

As the mysterious incidents continue, Faith and her friends in the Candle House Book Club - along with her dedicated cat, Watson - realize this is no open-and-shut case. Will Faith and her friends locate the python and see justice served? Or will the culprit, or culprits, avoid being sentenced?

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?