Realtor Diana Rittenhouse has survived a nasty divorce, her career has stalled, so she moves her art collection, her foul-mouthed parrot, and her testy elderly mother from urban Philadelphia to rural North Carolina for a fresh start. Diana’s mother had grown up in that part of North Carolina back when it was forest and farmland, before backhoes raped the red soil and turned an old culture upside down. For Viv, the move means coming home; for Diana, a confirmed Yankee, the change is frightening.
As a new associate at Crawford Realty, Diana anticipates making an easy living selling upscale lake properties and enjoying a simpler life style. Instead, her new home seems like a foreign country, where invading newcomers from all over the nation are fast disrupting a proud society.
Fortunes are made overnight, and Diana lands squarely in the middle of a power struggle. Her very first client, land-rich Jedidiah Porter, is murdered, and Diana becomes the prime suspect. As she seeks the real killer, Diana is dragged into a deadly triangle of greed and violence. New friends are outnumbered by new enemies, and in the midst of turmoil, Diana encounters the last thing she expects…a second chance at love. But will she live to enjoy it?
Realtor Diana Rittenhouse is getting her act together after a messy divorce. She has uprooted her real estate business from urban Philadelphia to rural North Carolina and has recently survived A Lethal Listing (see Diana Rittenhouse Mystery 1/5) that almost claimed her life. Diana is excited about getting her Broker-In-Charge license and taking a second chance on love with Matthew Troutman, an easy-going southerner who is her polar opposite. But fate intervenes in the form of two eight year old look-alikes, who are destined to turn her world upside down. Juan is a Mexican orphan, while Johnny is the son of Diana’s wealthy new clients. The boys are a modern day Prince and Pauper, but in spite of their differences, they become inseparable friends---until Diana makes a terrible blunder and one of the boys is kidnapped from her Open House.
Neither the local police nor the FBI makes progress in the missing persons case, and as the casualties mount, Diana is devastated by guilt. She takes matters into her own hands and joins forces with her new love, Matthew, to find the abducted child.
The quest leads them deep into the Carolina mountains, where the backwoods natives seem to hail from a previous century. When bullets start to fly, they fight not only to rescue the child, but also to save their own lives.
Realtor Diana Rittenhouse is as shocked as everyone else in her small North Carolina town when someone starts murdering their five commissioners. The authorities believe the deaths are unrelated. After all, these elected officials are diversely different in gender, race, political persuasion, and personality. Their unique character traits, domestic situations, and romantic entanglements suggest individual motives for each murder and many different suspects.
But as Diana, along with her longtime lover, Matthew, elderly mother, Vivian, and best friend, Liz are drawn into the circle of intrigue, they come to believe the only common denominator for the murders is the victim’s roles as commissioners. The five have the power to rezone, issue permits, and reject or approve multi-million dollar land deals. Most disturbing of all, Diana’s pet real estate project emerges as the likely catalyst for the killings. The deeper she digs, Diana is targeted as the next victim, and as the complex truth emerges, she fears the killer is not an unknown psychopath as the police assume, but rather someone in her closest circle of friends.
In 1868 Confederate War hero, Tom Dooley, returned to North Carolina to marry his longtime sweetheart, but became romantically involved with her two cousins. When his fiancée was brutally murdered, the ensuing trial and Tom’s celebrated hanging became the stuff ballads were made of. But had Tom really committed this murder? Or was it a legendary love triangle gone wrong?
In contemporary North Carolina Iraq War hero, Trev Dula, Tom’s distant ancestor, plans to marry his sweetheart, but history tries to repeat itself. The modern murder lands Realtor Diana Rittenhouse and her tentative new family smack dab in the middle of the violence. As Diana and her lover, Matthew, try to protect themselves and their family from false accusations and a killer on the loose, the reader wonders if the contemporary mystery will be resolved, or will a potentially innocent person die again?
Realtor Diana Rittenhouse is surrounded by April fools—fools for love that is. Her oldest clients, her partner Liz, her stepdaughter Ginny and even her elderly mother Viv are planning weddings. Only Matthew, her longtime lover, is stubbornly avoiding the subject of marriage.
As Diana struggles with her disappointment, a mysterious enemy attempts to intimidate and kill her. From tire slashing to a car bomb, does this evil stem from her unmasking of an illegal alien, her listing of a foreclosed “drug house”—or what about those skeletons she dug up? Has the perpetrator of a forty-year-old triple murder decided she needs to die?
As she tries to stay alive, Diana fears she may be the biggest April fool of all.
caveat emptor—buyer beware. It pretty much sums up every human endeavor worth taking a chance on, marriage included.