Mara's Luncheonette was the one hang-out place in Cabot Cove, Maine along with Worrell Mansion. An agreement that was written between then town and the Worrell family's patriarch 100 years ago, it had been held in trust with the town provided it is maintained and used by the town as a conference center, park, retreat and playground. The agreement gets renewed every five years. As the last surviving family member, Jared Worrell, had been fulfilling those terms. However this particular year, he announces that the Worrell Mansion has been sold to an investment banking firm who would renovate the mansion into an art colony. That, my dear readers, is the center of the plot for this 1995 book Brandy & Bullets written by Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher.
With much opposition from the town, Corcoran Group renovated the Worrell Mansion into Worrell Institute of Creativity. During the opening gala tour, Jessica learns that the art colony was not just for artistes and writers to pursue their passion, but also give them ability to get over the block, if they face any. All sounds well and good except that a classical musician by name Maureen Beaumont kills herself with a gunshot to head. Followed by an attempted suicide by another resident artiste. What made it worse was Jessica's friend Norman Huffaker admitted himself into the institute but goes missing a few weeks after he starts staying there. And surrounding all was the political conspiracy that Jessica gets pulled into by Sybil Stewart, Cabot Cove's new mayor.
Enough was enough for Jessica, and she plunges into the suicide / murder mystery to solve it and as well find her friend Norman hoping that he doesn’t end up dead too. What exactly went inside the four walls of the so called institute? How is Norman's disappearance linked to Beaumont's suicide? Why is Sybil so against Jessica's opinions? With her tenacious brain, she marches forward to find the answers even goes to the extent of putting herself in the institute for a weekend just so she is closer to the scene of crime. Will she find her friend Norman? Will she conclude that Maureen Beaumont was murdered as opposed to suicide as it seems? Well, read through this wonderful book to know more.