February 2018 ttimes web magazine

Page 25

Welcome to Mallard Bay: The Mysterious World of Cheril Thomas by Helen Chappell

The plaque at the entrance of the property said Delaney House ~ Circa 1670. But what Grace Reagan actually bought was twenty-four rooms of crumbling plaster and the truth about her past. The old mansion came complete with oddball relatives and a grave in the back yard. Her family’s story came with a murder. This is the teaser for Squatter’s Rights, Easton-based writer Cheril Thomas’s latest mystery offering, first in her new series. Grace Reagan inherits a ramshackle old mansion in the small town of Mallard Bay from her estranged grandmother. When the Washington-based lawyer from a white-shoe firm comes to the Shore for the first time, she finds a whole new life for herself in addition to a handful of trouble from her estranged family, some interesting new friends and a world she didn’t know existed. Squatter’s Rights offers all the elements of a good mystery. There are family secrets and lies, a longburied corpse and a host of Eastern Shore characters who promise to

challenge Grace’s poise, as well as her patience, with a different way of life. It’s a far cry from what she’s used to in the city. The culture shock is a large part of what makes this book so much fun. Over a string of lunches in Easton, warm and friendly Cheril reveals her excitement about launching her first novel, as well as the path that