Beware the menace posed by a dying man, a sniper in the woods and killer ladybugs.
Accountant P.J. Benson recently inherited her grandfather’s farm in rural Michigan. During tax season, she has no time for outside interests, but when she’s suspected in the murder of a stranger who dies in her dining room, she’s forced to turn sleuth. Her neighbors, missing a box they say contains genetically altered ladybugs whose bite is fatal, beg P.J. to help find it without informing the police. The dead man turns out to be a carpenter who built a laboratory in their barn. His tendency to talk too much when drinking may have cost him his life. As break-ins continue at P.J.’s house, handsome homicide detective Wade Kingsley, who’s attracted to her, wonders if her mother’s schizophrenia runs in the family. P.J. must also deal with her lesbian neighbors, one of whom expected to get part of P.J.’s inherited property. After making a scene at a party, she brings P.J. a stew laced with sleeping pills. Although P.J. and her Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, Baraka, suffer no ill effects, the cops suspect she dosed herself. Another neighbor, angry with P.J., provides an important clue about the CROWS, an environmental watchdog group whose members may be violent.
Veteran romancer Soule skillfully combines suspense, mystery and romance in a fast-moving tale.