Amanda Pepper and C K Mackenzie have cleared the air on their views on marriage and are engaged. Now Mandy's sister and mother are pulling out all the stops planning their wedding. The new term at Philly Prep is in session and with Mandy's teaching and C K leaving the police force to go back to school to obtain his PhD in criminology money is a bit tight. They decide to work part-time for a private investigator to supplement their income. Add to that the worry over their families meeting for the first time and Mandy's stretched to the max. Mandy is assigned the case for Mrs. Claire Fairchild requires Mandy to check out the future daughter-in-law, widowed Emmie Cade. What she finds is a shady past that leaves Mandy with more questions than answers. Then Mrs. Fairchild turns up murdered and suspicion falls on Emmie.
Reading Gillian Roberts' Amanda Pepper Mysteries reminds me of my time as a teacher. Mandy is always concerned for her students, but somehow always seems to become more involved than most of us in the teaching profession. But her heart is always in the right place. Ms. Roberts has developed strong independent characters that become some of your closest friends. She has plots that have enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and she weaves the different threads together at the end to create a beautiful tapestry. Come and join me in the City of Brotherly Love as we find the killer before he finds us.
This is the eleventh book in the Amanda Pepper series, but it can be read as a standalone with little effort. I do recommend reading the series from the start, Caught Dead In Philadelphia, and see where it all began and how the characters have matured with each new book.
In the City of Brotherly Love, nobody knows a thing about Emmie Cade, a young widow who “appeared from nowhere,” and in the blink of an eye was engaged to Leo Fairchild, a middle-aged bachelor with a fortune. However, as her marriage date approaches, Emmie's mother-in-law to be, the ailing, autocratic Claire Fairchild, receives anonymous letters. They suggest, none too subtly, that there's a great deal to learn about the mysterious young woman, none of it good, and much of it involving the violent deaths of the men in her life.
Enter Amanda Pepper who, after completing her day of teaching English at Philly Prep, now moonlights as a P.I. along with C.K. Mackenzie, former homicide detective, current graduate student at Penn. The two of them are hired by Mrs. Fairchild to find out who the charming but evasive Emmie Cade really is. At thirty-two, the young woman has changed her address and name more often than some women change nail polish—and deliberately or not, she's provided no clues or access to her past.
For Amanda, becoming C.K. Mackenzie's investigative partner is an exhilarating change from the politics and problems of the new school term, and a welcome distraction from the ordeal of meeting her own prospective in-laws. She's determined to prove herself an able investigator by ferreting out Emmie Cade's secrets, but almost immediately, instead of looking at events of the past, she's forced to deal with the here and now—including murder.