Jenny Crain is engaged in the most delicate and significant project of her entire professional life. As the head of the newly established JUDY FOUNDATION, she is responsible for the smooth operation of the first ever, Port Frederick Autumn Festival. If the festival succeeds in bringing business to the community and does not end up as a financial catastrophe Crain’s new endeavor will be off to a rousing start. If the festival fails, the JUDY FOUNDATION will be little more than a promising venture that failed to achieve its full potential.

As the opening day approaches, it seems to Crain that Murphy’s Law is in full flower. Melissa Barney seeks her aid in closing a nature trail where it intersects a highway before anyone else is killed. Unfortunately, before Crain can properly examine the situation, a series of disasters strike. Demonstrators of a religious bent opposed to the festival appear, the project becomes an issue in the mayor’s election, and Crain learns that insurance for the festival may not be forthcoming. Next, a fire at a local store kills one of the protestors, and two elderly residents are attacked in their home. Then, there is the Ghost of God’s Highway and a series of incidents connected with his appearance.

This genre abounds with unique individuals employed at occupations a world apart from that normally associated with mysteries or murders. That caveat aside, Pickard’s characters are some of the more plausible now being presented to the reading public. Nevertheless, some readers may continue to remain bemused as to why someone who lives in Kansas feels compelled to write about a village in Massachusetts.