When Annike McKinley returns to her Aunt Gerda’s home for Thanksgiving she finds the body of Clifford Brody, C.P.A., bleeding all over her aunt’s tax receipts. While Sheriff Owen Sarkisian and the crime team track mud through the house, the Service Club of Upper River Gulch Environs (the SCOURGEs) sticks Annike with organizing the town’s Thanksgiving weekend activities, which gives her the opportunity to investigate the murder on her own to clear the chief suspect her beloved aunt. She’s soon up to her neck in pancake breakfasts, pie-eating contests, community dinners and a raffle prize that threatens to take over her life.
After ordering Annike to stop interfering, Sarkisian is forced to beg the aid of her accounting skills to help unravel the case. She keeps a tight rein on her growing enjoyment of his company, though, for as the widow of a former sheriff of the county she is determined not to get romantically involved with another law officer. Then one of the suspects is found dead, stripped to his boxers and socks in a vat of apricot brandy. Before the murderer is captured, both Annike and Sarkisian narrowly avoid adding to the body count.
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