Backyard bones help uncover a long forgotten affair

The dreary weather helped me decide to return to Pineapple Port, Florida, through “Pineapple Lies” by Amy Vansant.

Charlotte was 11 when her mother died, and she moved in with her grandmother. Sadly, her grandmother died soon after she arrived. To keep her out of the foster care system, her grandmother’s best friends found a way to allow Charlotte to stay in her grandmother’s home.

Now 26, Charlotte has a small custom machine embroidery business. Her flexible schedule suits both Charlotte and the other residents of the Port.

Lately, Charlotte has been feeling like she lacks purpose in her life. Her first project is turning a former cement patio area into a garden. As she begins digging, she is joined by her neighbor’s dog. To her horror, it pulls out a human skull. In an instant, her home is a crime scene with police tape and all.

Surprisingly, the deputy on guard allows a tall, handsome man to enter Charlotte’s house. The women murmur that he’s Declan, the local resale shop owner. While he and Charlotte argue about his right to be there, a deputy brings in a necklace they found with the bones. Declan is aghast. He explains that he gave that necklace to his mother just before she disappeared 15 years ago. The bones must be those of his mother, Erin Bingham. But what happened, and how did she end up in Charlotte’s backyard?

The autopsy finds a nick in one rib as well as scratches near to it.

Charlotte hates to admit it, but she is attracted to Declan. So she uses her connection with Sheriff Frank to supply him with information.
Charlotte is curious when elderly Joe asks to search the area with a metal detector. He insists he is a pro at solving cold cases. In minutes he finds a bullet in the dirt. Sadly, it doesn’t match any guns in the area.

Then an anonymous caller says to look under an orange tree in George and Penny’s yard. Authorities find a box full of love letters written to Erin and signed by George.

Meanwhile, Declan’s uncle Seamus arrives from Miami. He used to run the local pawn shop. He tells Declan that he had been in love with Erin and hoped to marry her, but when she went to break up with her married boyfriend, she never returned.

In a strange twist of fate, the bullet matches a gun Seamus owns. He took it from the pawn shop when he moved to Miami. Old records show that the gun was sold by George the day after Erin disappeared.

It looks like an open and shut case against George, but Penny insists that it was her gun and she only shot it one time after she found out that George was having an affair with Erin. She shows them where the bullet went into a closet when she tried to shoot George. The damage had all been repaired but when they return to look at the closet Charlotte notices that the floorboards now have blood stains.
That triggers a memory for Charlotte so she, Darla and Mariska break into Joe’s house. They learn that he lied about solving old cold cases and that he’d planted all the recent evidence. He shows up but is too weak to be dangerous. Joe has end stage cancer.

He confesses that he worked for George and knew about the affair. Erin had been hiding in the closet and was hit by the bullet. She tried to get home, but Joe found her body in the ditch. He buried her at the building site that became Charlotte’s home and squirreled away the evidence to use against George.

With Erin’s disappearance, solved Pineapple Port becomes to gossip central again. Everyone is rooting for Charlotte and Declan to take their friendship to the next level, so they have something juicy to talk about.

Whenever you need a little vacation, drop by your public library and select a book that takes you away. It’s fun and easy, and you’ll be glad you checked it out.


“Pineapple Lies”
AUTHOR: Amy Vansant
PUBLISHER: Vansant Creations
PUBLISHED: April 15, 2015
PAGES: 318