Who knew a bake-sale fundraiser could generate so much drama? Fans of Lucy Stone can have another pleasant visit with her and the quirky residents of her small Maine town. Meier has a deft touch with family relationships and small-town characters, and she dazzles with unexpected charm.

Reporter Lucy's life has been disrupted since Fred Stanton constructed a small development of homes near hers. His wife, Mimi, is a chronic complainer, from Lucy's lilac bush to another neighbor's dog. When Mimi misses her turn at the Hat and Mitten Fund bake sale, Lucy is dispatched to check on her. She finds her neighbor face down on her kitchen floor, skewered with a large knife.

As the police investigate, Lucy starts following her own leads into the mysterious Mimi's life. But someone's not happy about her snooping, and everyone in town is wondering about the homeless man who showed up at Mimi's funeral and is skulking around town. As she tries to find a murderer, Lucy also attempts to get to the bottom of some anonymous letters accusing the local football team of harassment. (Kensington, Dec., 240 pp., $22.00)
Reviewed by: 
Pat Cooper