Dead Down East is a fictional murder mystery. It is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy, rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, narrates the tale.
Jesse’s vacation on Great Pond is cut short when he receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor of Maine, had been assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide Jesse any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse agrees to help.
Within a week, he has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. Jesse assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, an eccentric psychic and his zesty girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of seven of the governor’s former mistresses.