The big white banner with the blue letters flapped across the front of Town Hall.

CABOT COVE DERBY DAYS HAVE ARRIVED.

CATCH ’EM WHILE THEY’RE BITING.

TROPHIES! CASH PRIZES! REGISTER HERE.

“I suppose you’ve already signed up, Mrs. Fletcher,” Seth Hazlitt said as we descended the steps of the downtown municipal building where we’d attended an early-morning meeting.

“As a matter of fact, I have,” I said. “Got my fishing license, my derby permit, reserved a guide, and I convinced Jim Shevlin to rent me one of his cottages out on Moon Lake for the week.”

“Isn’t the mayor participating in the derby himself?” my physician friend asked.

“He said he may—if he can convince his wife, Susan, to give up one of her summer weekends. But she says she’d rather camp out down in Kittery at the outlet stores. Anyway, Jim has two cottages on the lake property, so he can always bunk in the other one if he wants to fish in the derby.”

“Who’s going to be your fishing partner this year?”

“I haven’t got one. Since I’m camping out for the whole week—I’m making a little vacation out of it—I figured it was better to sign up as a singleton this year.”

“Sure you’ll be comfortable all alone in a cabin in the woods? No phone? No TV? Sounds a tad boring if you ask my opinion, which I know you haven’t.”

“Sounds heavenly to me,” I said as we made our way down the dock at the end of Main Street. “I have a pile of books I’ve been meaning to get to, and when the derby is over, I’ll fish just long enough to catch something to eat, then climb into the rocker on the porch and spend the rest of my week reading.”

“But what’ll you do when the sun goes down? The electricity there is spotty at best. Barely enough to run the plumbing.”

“I’ll have a flashlight and a lantern, and there are always candles. I’m not afraid of the dark.”

“Isn’t it rash to be going by yourself? You never know who could be wandering in the woods looking for trouble.”

“I’m actually looking forward to being by myself.”

“You spend enough time by yourself at home. I think you should invite someone to keep you company, help you handle the camping chores. I’d join you myself, but I already have patients booked for the week.”

Seth held open the door to Mara’s Luncheonette for me. “I’ve never been concerned about roughing it,” I said. “Besides, I can’t think of anything nicer than getting up with the birds, going out on the water, and throwing in a line when the fish are hungry for breakfast.”

Murder, She Wrote: Hook, Line, and Murder