When Gwen Wilson returns to Hillside Cottage on Mt. Tampalasis in California to create a murder mystery game for Lawrence Van Hise's 70th birthday, she finds herself trying to solve a 20 year old crime when Lawrence accuses her mother, who was once the Van Hise housekeeper, of stealing a jade statue. As Gwen searches for the truth, long buried secrets emerge, secrets around her mother's suicice and her relationship with Lawrence. Gwen's childhood fantasies about Lawrence's attractive son Hunter complicate matters. Is Hunter's offer to help real or is he merely trying to protect his father? Is he really attracted to Gwen or merely using her as his father used her mother? Then the night of the party, Lawrence Van Hise is found dead, and it appears someone is trying to frame Gwen for murder.
Linda gives an overview of the book:
Gwen curled her legs under her, just as she had done as a child. The mahogany window seat shone with fresh polish, and the scent of lemon oil lingered, bringing back memories of her mother. A line from her last novel, Fallen through the Crack, kept playing though her mind, something her fictional detective Adam Long had said to his partner. "Fate? There is no such thing as fate. It's always our own choice. Sometimes we don't like the choices we make; sometimes we don't want to believe they are our choices, but we made them."
What choices had led her to the Van Hise mansion on Mt. Tamalpais? To this room with its polished mahogany, overstuffed chairs, genuine Tiffany lamps, and a curious mixture of Art Nouveau and ancient Chinese art?
Adam Long didn't believe in fate, only in choices, but Gwen wasn't sure. Was it fate that led Lawrence Van Hise to offer her $10,000 to create a murder game party for his seventieth birthday? Possibly--but it had been her choice to return to Hillside Cottage, where her mother once worked as a housekeeper.
I originally wrote this for Harlequin, but it turned out the hero wasn't Harlequin enough. That's because the whole story took a step away from Romance into reality, dealing with such issues as grief and murder mystery games. I took my own experiences designing mystery games and incorporated it into the story. If you are looking for something interesting to do, try a murder mystery game party. Look for my Killer International games at www.host-party.com, the largest supplier of downloadable mystery games on the Internet. And coming in 2009 from www.host-party.com, "Murder in Movieland," straight from the pages of THE MURDER GAME, the mystery game inspired by the book.