Maddy Sprowls gets to The Hannawa Herald-Union on the stroke of nine, makes her first mug of Darjeeling tea, and settles down at her desk to read the obituaries. First she reads that her old college friend Gordon Sweet is dead. Then she learns he was murdered-at the abandoned landfill where the eccentric archae-ology professor was conducting his latest dig. Just like that, the cranky 68-year-old newspaper librarian finds herself investigating another murder. No, two murders! So begins a harrowing and hilarious trek back to Maddy's old beatnik days, when she was a member of the Meriwether Square Baked Bean Existen-tialist Society. Legendary beat writer Jack Kerouac still casts a long shadow over the group. And there's a coffee house full of quirky suspects to consider: Poet Chick Glass, saxophonist Shaka Bop, free-thinking Effie Fredmansky, snooty Gwen Moffitt-Stumpf, and toxic waste dumper Kenneth Kingzette. C.R. Corwin, a former newspaper reporter, lived in Akron, Ohio. He died unexpectedly in 2008 at age 59.