Maddy Sprowls gets to The Hannawa Herald-Union on the stroke of nine. She makes her first mug of Darjeeling tea and settles down at her desk to read the obituaries. The obits are the best part of her day, she admits. But not today. 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 archaeology professor was conducting his latest dig.
And just like that, the cranky 68-year-old newspaper librarian finds herself investigating another murder. No, two murders! Is Gordon's death linked to the grisly bludgeoning of state wrestling champ David Delarosa fifty years earlier?
And 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 Existentialist 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.
There's a reason why reporters call Maddy "Morgue Mama" behind her back. And why cops and criminals alike get the jitters when she pulls up in her old Dodge Shadow. She is tough, tenacious, and tricky as the dickens.
C.R. Corwin is a former newspaper reporter living in Akron, Ohio.