Sarah Deane takes a break from graduate school-and dreary mid-March Boston-and heads for sunny Southern Texas to join her boyfriend, Philip Lentz, on a birdwatching expedition. Philip's rare sighting of a pair of hook-billed kites gets things off to a great start. But when he ends up strangled by his binocular straps, the rest of the birders are both suspects and sitting ducks. Is the killer a member of the Hamburg Bird Club? Major "Big" Foster, who claims he also saw the kites?
The Drama School at Bowmouth College is staging its annual Halloween masquerade, known for being a little unusual. Drama students are known for being mischievous and high-strung, but this year things are a little more serious: Sarah stumbles upon a badly injured student hidden away in a stockroom on Halloween night, and then events take a turn for the worse. By the time the production is finally staged, a member of the faculty has been badly injured and a student has been killed.
English teacher Sarah Deane and her boyfriend, Dr. Alex McKenzie, leave snowy Maine to join Sarah's feisty Aunt Julia for Christmas at the exclusive Rancho del Gato Blanco resort in Arizona. But they soon realize there's no place like home for the holidays when ranch guests become the prey of a prankster whose destructive acts are tallying up like a Yuletide carol: Garden hose a-spraying... Lounge chair collapsing... Mud in the coffee... Golf carts a-stalling... Rubber snake in bathtub... Wagon wheel a-flying... The pranks take a murderous turn Christmas morning when one of the guests turns up dead among the gifts in Santa's sack.
Crotchety, 70-something Julia Clancy of High Hope Farm feels a little wobbly one August morning. With stables to clean and riding lessons to give, the stoic New Englander ignores her symptoms - and ends up in the ER with a heart attack. Even then, she's insisting it's indigestion; even then, her sharp eyes don't miss a thing. And a glimpse of something highly unusual will entangle Julia Clancy in the baffling murder of a hospital VIP.
Everybody loves Dolly Beaugard.... At least that's what Maine college professor and amateur sleuth Sarah Deane always thought. But when Dolly's bloated body washes ashore on the same spot as the drunken Gattling brothers the day before, the police rule homicide. Unfortunately for Sarah, she and her doctor-husband Alex have a local reputation for sharp-eyed detection, so Dolly's sister, Alice, who doesn't trust the police, insists they get involved. Sarah and Alex begin to discover that the connection between the reviled Gattlings and the reputable Beaugards is surprisingly close....
"Wish I hadn't used the Credit"
Freshly-minted Ph.D. Sarah Deane is hired to teach English at Miss Merritt’s, only to land in the epicenter of legendary French professor Grace ('Mme. Guillotine') Carpentier’s reign of terror. Mme.’s peckish passion for excellence has inspired universal fear and loathing. A student discovers Mme.’s cloaked hanging effigy. Then Sarah finds a bludgeoned body wearing Mme’s trademark cape. But the victim is not Mme. Is it a case of mistaken identity? It’s up to Sarah, aided by her husband Alex, to find the killer before he strikes again.
After weeks of relentless rain and fog, summer graces the Maine coast. Sarah Deane wants only to help her in-laws adjust to living in Ocean Tide, an "architect-designed home-town community", and enjoy the warm weather before she returns to teaching in the fall. She absolutely does not want to become embroiled in another murder investigation. Even when police find the body of an 18 year old on Ocean Tide's golf course, Sarah vows not to let it sidetrack her from an agenda of rest and relaxation.
Planning their wedding at High Hope horse farm is trouble enough for teaching fellow Sarah Deane and her fiancé Dr. Alex McKenzie. But now Sarah's widowed Aunt Julia, the farm's crusty, independent owner, is receiving threatening nursery rhymes with her morning paper; a stableman's been mysteriously injured; and someone's taking pot shots at the barn. Could the disturbing events have to do with a mining company that's out to lasso local land? Or with Tilly, a loopy neighbor who thinks it's in her stars to swap farms with Julia?
New England English teacher Sarah Deane, with husband Alex and feisty Aunt Julia in tow, is getting ready to board the Queen Victoria for a luxurious transatlantic cruise. But before they even set sail, two passengers are killed - both members of the British-American trade commission. Now Sarah must wade through a sea of peculiar passengers and quirky crew members to find a killer aboard Vicky - and drop anchor on the seafaring scoundrel....