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The second novel featuring 12 year old Emma Graham finds her again setting out to solve a small-town mystery. The insatiably curious Emma lives with her mother at the Hotel Paradise in Spirit Lake, a formerly popular resort town slowly fading into obscurity. Emma's kept busy helping her mother, the cook at the hotel, but finds time to explore the town and visit with its sometimes colorful citizens.
The drowning death of 12 year old Mary-Evelyn Devereau over 40 years earlier was officially deemed just another tragedy in the Devereau family, along with with the stabbing of Rose Devereau - a murder that landed her husband, Ben Queen, in jail. Ben's release from prison is quickly followed by the murder of his daughter, Fern, but Emma is convinced of his innocence in both crimes. She's also convinced that Mary-Evelyn's death is not an accident, and is related to the murders. Emma's curiosity leads her to try to unravel the truth behind these family secrets and prove Ben's innocence.