With his eye for the ladies and his knack for Victorian house restorations, how can Elias Hackshaw resist when the beautiful Hester DelGado asks him to help with the renovation of her “painted lady” in Port Erie? Upstate New York’s most irascible and astute weekly newspaper editor, however, is also one of its biggest gadflies and snoops. Before he knows what’s happening, Hackshaw has jumped with both feet into a controversy (over Hester’s garishly painted house) and then into a murder investigation (of a wayward girl who lived with Hester), both of which are at the heart of a complicated scam. And this time, Hack had no part in the clever con job – but try convincing the local police chief and his brawling young deputy, who just happens to be the dead girl’s boyfriend. Toss in a hapless town drunk, a furious boat race down the Erie Canal, and an assortment of quirky small-town characters, and once again you have the elements for a top-drawer comic mystery.