|Innkeeper Sarah Quilliam-McHale (Quill) and her son Jack have returned to Hemlock Falls, NY from times in the Adirondacks; her husband Myles has returned to his government job in the Middle East and Sarah is settling back into her usual routine, which is anything but settled. She and her sister, the temperamental chef of the inn, Meg, will be playing host to the guests of local antique dealer Rose Ellen’s wedding to television producer Edmund Tree.
Tree will be bringing his show Your Ancestor’s Attic to Hemlock Falls, as will the producer of Pawn-O-Rama, Belter Barcini, making the residents of Hemlock Falls scramble up to their attics to find their hidden heirlooms. The two men are as different as their television shows and great, unfriendly rivals. To further their rivalry, the two agree to a cook off hosted by neighboring Bonne Goute Culinary Academy, where Tree drops dead after tasting the zabaglione.
Quill is streaming the event live to her husband, the former sheriff, who instructs his wife to steer clear of the investigation and leave it to the new sheriff. But Quill, an artist, often has a different perspective on things, and manages to see things that Sheriff Dave misses and once again finds herself on the trail of a killer.
Dread on Arrival is another fun mystery featuring the Quilliam sisters and their crazy neighbors in upstate New York. As tourists are returning to Hemlock Falls, so are the burglaries in the area, something Quill attributes to the two antique-themed television shows – as most of the thefts have involved attics and basements. Quill can’t decide which show crew she likes least, both staffed with smarmy people she doesn’t trust further than she can throw them, especially after one production assistant offers her a couple of hundred dollars for a painting she, a well-known artist, did, saying it was produced by a “hack” attempting to copy an original Quilliam.
There are plenty of red herrings as Quill and her staff investigate Tree’s death, and possibly the burglaries. Meg and her friend Clare from the culinary academy are friendly rivals, providing plenty of red wine and friendship for Quill with Myles out of town. A well-developed, long-lived series that remains as welcoming and entertaining as it was in the beginning, this story will keep readers returning to Hemlock Falls time after time.
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry