Rima Lansill finds herself suddenly without a family. Both her parents are dead: her mother when she was young and her father just recently of cancer. It is not so much her father’s death that has rocked her, though, but that of her younger brother Oliver in a drunk-driving accident. Rima is upset enough to want to get away from Cleveland for awhile, so she is happy to accept the invitation of her godmother to stay at her house of Wit’s End in Santa Cruz, California.
Rima’s godmother is the famous mystery writer A. B. Early—Addison—whose sleuth is Maxwell Lane. Rima has read all of Addison’s books but has never actually met her, as there was some sort of rift between Addison and Bim, Rima’s father. Rima wonders if it was caused by Addison having used Bim’s name for the murderer in one of her books.
Taking sleuthing tips from Maxwell Lane himself, Rima decides to try to find out what happened and just what her father’s relationship to Addison was. Addison herself is not very forthcoming, but some letters Rima finds in Maxwell’s fan mail show knowledge of the real Bim, not the fictional murderer. And these letters arrived from the home of what used to be a cult.
I have now read three Fowler novels, and they all construct an interesting tale full of well-meaning characters (although We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves leaves the others in its dust). There are some alarming moments in Wit’s End, but mostly what it offers is comfort and a new home for the main character. I have categorized it as a mystery, but the mystery is really only something to hang the characters and atmosphere on, as the book club is in The Jane Austen Book Club. Wit’s End is a fun bit of very light reading.