Andy Gammon, former Detroiter, has managed to blend nicely into everyday life in a small Massachusetts seaport with her dyed-in-the-wool Yankee husband, Gus, their two children, and her crusty mother-in-law Mayta. At first, updating the history of the First Parish Church for its tricentennial celebration is just one more way for the former social studies teacher to get involved in her adopted community. Then a storm damages the steeple of the First Parish, revealing a skeleton and a silver tankard that has been missing from the church plate since 1811. When the police show little interest in solving a crime so old, Andy, with her background in historical research, decides to mount her own investigation. The mystery spills over into the present when a second body - this time a very recent one - is found at the church, and a fire is set on Andy's property, leading Andy to wonder if tragedies of the past are being recreated in the present. Despite growing resistance of those who think she is sullying Newburyport's forefathers, Andy remains steadfast in her commitment to historical truth, solving both murders, and ultimately to finding her niche in this New England town.
Debut novelist Tempa Pagel and her husband reside in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with their son and daughter.