Annabelle C. Doyle (Acie to her friends), is a former fashion model and tenured professor at a small college. She’s also part of a group trying to establish a wildlife sanctuary on a donated parcel of land, but when the donor dies under mysterious circumstances, Acie calls in the help of fellow professor Ike Adler to solve the case. Circumstances grow even more dire when the donor’s heir is murdered and Acie and Adler become suspects in the case.

It's rare to have older main characters, but always a welcome refreshment from the usual younger characters. Acie is already in her fifties, but she makes for an engaging, easy to relate to heroine. The writing is decent and flows well, keeping up the pace, although it can be tightened in some spots. One possible suspect after the other is put in the spotlight, but the book does keep the reader guessing as to who the real culprit is. While both Acie and Adler are fleshed out, three-dimensional characters, the same can’t be said for the secondary characters, which felt flat at times. The romance makes up an equally important part of the book as the mystery and is very believable. The addition of a dog named Conan to help Acie solve the mystery works really well and will appeal to animal lovers. The book also provides a good amount of humor to its readers, and makes an ideal read for a cold winter’s night.

Majanka Verstraete