An attractive, well-thought-of minister's wife in Philadelphia, a woman who grew up on the water, is missing. Her sailboat, with two close friends aboard has gone unreported. Now her widower, Dr. Carl Houseman, wants some answers. He turns to private investigator Terri Blake-Addison, a scrappy woman who pulls few punches and has a clear understanding of her limitations. No superwoman here, just real folks.
There is a problem. Terri is locked in a distracting process with members of her church because she wants to teach Sunday school and there are apparently some who object. Other problems occur. Dr. Houseman is the head of a vast and growing media ministry that's finally worth a whole lot of money. And, the case is already old; his wife died five years ago.
Blake-Addison takes the assignment and follows the trail to a remote Maine village where Ellen grew up and where she apparently died. The more the investigator probes and peels back old and new secrets, the more complex becomes the picture. Author Hall has done a first rate job of balancing two interesting threads and keeping the reader aware of their intersections. Why did Ellen Houseman become unhappy in her role in the Houseman Empire? How much antipathy and jealousy were present in the second rank of executives? How did the secret relationships among residents and visitors in the tiny Maine village affect Ellen and her friends? What really happened to Ellen Houseman?
The exploration of religious empire building and the very human intercepts played out against the tiny but important individual crises and triumphs in Maine is enthralling and constantly interesting. Hall has done a fine job with this book.