A mysterious mansion on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, an impossible murder in a locked room, and a deadly secret.
In 1926, when a local stockbroker is killed in his locked office in the Stilwell Building, owned by the wealthy and eccentric Stilwells, the Easton police know they have a delicate situation on their hands. The only way in or out seems to be a small transom window. Several unhappy investors, a soon-to-be ex-wife, and a disappointed lady friend of the victim all have motives, and there seems to be some connection to the powerful Stilwells and their mysterious and well-guarded waterfront estate, Casa Leone. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, that means it’s time to call in the Hurlocks. But Max and Allison Hurlock were looking forward to impending parenthood, content to have finally put solving murders behind them. Reluctantly, they agree to help solve the case and manage the sensational publicity.
Over the Stilwells’ objections, Max tries to put the pieces together, while Allison helps the mayor fend off the sensation-seeking press. As the pressure mounts, Max has only one real clue; a book found at the murder scene that seems to have no business being there. But what does it mean? And why is there plaster dust on the floor? As he puts the pieces together, Max begins to suspect that the answer might lie in the past and maybe on another continent.
The wealthy and reclusive Stilwells and Casa Leone, their mysterious mansion, were the talk of St Michaels back in 1919, especially when Jaqueline Stilwell was accused of murdering her husband. Because of the notoriety of the Stilwells, the murder becomes a press sensation. The Stilwells badger Max and the police; the newspapers second-guess, and everyone points fingers at someone else. Allison tries to give accurate information to the reporters without compromising the investigation, while a visiting art expert seems to be thoroughly enjoying the prospect of participating in a real-life whodunnit. Allison, meanwhile, is ever-mindful of her condition, and wonders what sort of mother she’ll be and if the baby will change her relationship with Max.
A locked room murder; a mysterious guarded mansion; a reclusive and eccentric wealthy couple; a media sensation, an unhappy ex-wife who refuses to talk to the police, disgruntled clients claiming dirty dealing, and hints of a deadly secret from the past….Who says life across the Chesapeake is quiet?