Annie Bartlett has returned to her hometown and the memories she fled from years ago. She received a call that her father, Ed, has been murdered and his current girlfriend has been charged. Annie and her sister, Leigh, grew up in a household full of anger and recrimination. Her father was a serial adulterer and her mother, a nurse, committed suicide when the girls were still young.
Leigh grew up to be the girl she thought her father was attracted to as she attempted to get his attention. Flitting from man to man, her beauty her weapon, she has become mired in addiction and a dead-end life. Annie took a different route. She rejected everything about her upbringing and left town the minute she could get enough money to do so. She has carved out a good life for herself, engaged to a man she loves and has a career as a photographer.
Now both girls are back and trying to make sense of what has occurred to their father. Did the girlfriend kill him over another woman as the police believe? Or were the other tensions in town involved? There is an arsonist at large and Ed seemed to know something about that. Then there is the struggle between developers who wanted Ed's lakeside house and the people in town who were fighting against having their area changed from a sleepy lakeside town to a major tourist area replete with casinos and the crime and changes that brings. Can Annie find out what has happened before the town pulls her back into her former life and the heartbreak it brought? Will the truths she learns as she struggles to find out what has occurred help her also make sense of her upbringing?
Irene Ziegler has written an engaging mystery. Her characters are complex and the plot twists and turns satisfactorily. In addition to the mystery, there are themes of past issues resolution, conflict between development and tradition, and the struggle of characters to move past what was done to them as children and to become strong, independent adults. This book is recommended for mystery lovers.