9780425275825I never thought I’d find myself writing about Thomas Jefferson and the Mafia in the same book.

It all started when I decided to get my newlyweds Meg and Seth out of town for a honeymoon. I’ve set the last nine books in the series in the small New England town of Granford, Massachusetts, and I thought they needed a chance to spread their wings and fly, at least for a week or two, since their professions (apple farmer and home renovator) keep them busy most seasons of the year. Besides, I’d killed a number of people in Granford, and enough was enough for the moment. The town deserved a break.

So I sent them to Monticello, where they find both apples and unique architecture—the  perfect place for the two of them. They almost pulled off the ideal honeymoon, until Meg’s parents found a body in the backyard of their New Jersey home. At least Meg and Seth got to see Monticello first.

And then the fun started. I grew up in New Jersey (as well as a couple of neighboring states), so I borrowed my own home town, which hasn’t changed much since I lived there. Meg reluctantly takes new hubby Seth on the tour of the town, and runs into a local shop owner who she happened to attend high school with. And that leads to the Mob and a candidate for state office (no, not him)—and to solving the murder.

I don’t pretend to know much about crime in New Jersey these days, but I remember what we knew, or pretended not to know, when I was growing up there. My stepfather, who was in construction, used to drive us by burnt-out restaurants and say the owners had refused to pay protection money. Then there was that notorious crematorium that we used to pass, where a number of people disappeared forever. Fun times! Now there’s a whole new generation running the show, and things are different. (Don’t I get to do interesting research?)

But of course Meg and Seth help figure out who did what to whom, and when, and why, and drive home to Granford with a sigh of relief. Until the next body appears in Granford.