Donald Bain, the author of more than one hundred and twenty books, collaborated, with Jon Land on this bestselling series.Chapter One "Come on, Jess-everything's riding on you." Those words of encouragement came from Barbara Wirth, known to everyone in the town of Cabot Cove as "Babs." Babs and her husband, Hal, hosted what had become an annual event on Labor Day, a barbecue complete with friendly games, tasty grilled fare, finger food passed by well-dressed servers, and sumptuous desserts.At the heart of her suspicions lies a sinister dating site Hal had used while he and Babs were having marital issues, a site that may be complicit in somehow swindling him out of millions.Jessica's investigation reveals that Hal was far from the only victim and when his former business partner is also killed, a deadly pattern emerges.Just like you know I can't share what we discussed.Doctor-patient privilege." "Then you were discussing Hal's health." "I didn't say that." "You implied it.It was the day before the traditional start of school, explaining why this party, inevitably, lingered into the early-evening hours under the floodlights the Wirths had set up with just that expectation in mind.The sun was poised to dip behind the mountains in the distance, and those who'd elected to spend their day on the beach, a short walk from the Wirths' expansive property, brushed sand off their feet and bathing suits as they arrived.
A healthy assortment of the company's most delectable treats, now that we'd entered the dessert phase of the festivities, had replaced the trays of finger foods. Tim and Brad had twenty points, one shy of the winning number.I'd need a "ringer," worth three points, in which the horseshoe encircles the stake, for us to win. Her rosy voice made for a fitting match with her appearance. As we approached the sprawling New England-style house, we passed my dear friend Dr. People in town wonder why I've never learned to drive a car and trust my bicycle to get around, and look askance at me for having taken flying lessons and earning my private pilot's license. You and Seth are the last ones I need to get." I remembered Eve spending the party circulating through the crowd with the camera dangling from her neck, mining for gossip, I thought, but now I realized her intentions had been considerably more hospitable. "Just start whenever you're ready." I smiled and plunged right in. I feel like I've known you forever and I guess I have, at least since you moved to Cabot Cove. "Sure, but you need to record a video for Eve first, congratulating Babs and Hal on their anniversary." "Ayuh. "Can't say that I do." "It's Deacon Westhausen, for God's sake." The name rang a bell, but it took me a moment to realize the source of Eve's excitement. The man's Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson all rolled into one." "I've read the stories, Eve," I said, not bothering to hide my lack of enthusiasm for Cabot Cove's latest local celebrity, who was building a massive home in a previously protected area of wetlands right on the bluffs forming the cove that gave our town its name. I sat shocked in the passenger seat while Seth drove.I didn't suffer any illusions that I was capable of such a toss, especially now that the horseshoe I was hefting felt heavier than the bicycle I often had to lift over the curb to chain in place. She had a headful of red curls that framed flawless, smooth skin that looked as though it belonged in a skilled artist's portrait. I'm not sure that I can adequately explain why I have a license to fly but not one that allows me to drive, and I've given up trying to figure it out myself. I watched your beautiful daughter, Alyssa, grow up and can only hope you've dissuaded her from becoming a writer. "Of course, the tech giant," I said, watching as Westhausen was intercepted by a trio of party guests en route to the bar. This in return for the sizable investment he'd made in the long-awaited expansion of our cherished marina. But then I saw half of a man's shoe protruding from behind a large island used for prepping food. He was uncharacteristically quiet, stunned by the tragic conclusion to what had been a joyous Labor Day.My mouth watered at the sight of the bite-sized brownies, but I watched the last one snatched from the tray just before the server reached me. Babs and I had surprised everyone (including ourselves) by accumulating eighteen points, three shy of the winning number of twenty-one. I rushed out the door to get Seth, the primary care doctor for pretty much the entire town.It was my turn to throw my two horseshoes at the iron stake, which stood forty feet from where I was poised to take what would be the final turn. " Eve had begun to launch into her explanation anew when her eyes widened at the sight of someone passing between us and the entrance to the kitchen. " I followed her gaze to a youngish man striding toward the outdoor bar with an empty drink glass. But I didn't have to go far, since he was already running toward me, having heard Babs's anguished cry. " he asked as we shouldered through the door, trailed by Eve Simpson, camera in hand. "I think he's dead." Chapter Two The sun had dipped behind the mountains when Seth and I set out behind the ambulance transporting Hal to Cabot Cove Hospital.