Old Agatha Treadway baked her own bread, canned her own vegetables - and died of botulism in her very own kitchen. Accident, says Dr. Druffitt. Murder, says neighbor Janet Wadman. And says it again when she finds the doctor dead, too. Detective Inspector Madoc Rhys, of the royal Canadian Mounted Police, agrees. But who's the killer...? The town miser, who wants the one thing only Mrs. Treadway could have given him? The miser's son who's panting for the doctor's daughter? Widow Druffitt, who's holding secret meetings with unlikely people? The hired girl who listens at keyholes? The hired man who hides in haylofts?
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Though he may not look the part, Madoc Rhys is a Mountie - and his keen sense of detection tells him it's time to ask Janet Wadman to marry him. They have just gotten engaged when Christmas rolls around, and Janet's boss invites them to his family estate for a last holiday fling before Janet leaves her job. After a long helicopter ride, they are at Graylings, ancestral home of the Condryckes, a family so strange that Canada's shortest Mountie fits right in.
Janet Rhys is driving through the backwoods of Canada when she sees the truck ahead of her lose control, smash into a snow bank, and flip sideways, completely blocking the road. Springing to action, she darts into a nearby barn, searching for something to use to rescue the person trapped inside. When she hears an explosion, Janet returns to find the truck is nothing but smoking wreckage, and the driver has stolen her car.