Books Visit my blog Interviews Special Features About me About me Home
The Legacy in the Attic is available exclusively from Annie’s Attic Mysteries. You can visit their website, contact Customer Service at (800)282-6643 (8 a.m. - 7 p.m. [CST] Mon. - Fri.) or e-mail them at for more information.

An Annie’s Attic Mystery


The Last Will and Testament of Paul Maxwell Butler. How could those simple words come to haunt Annie Dawson? But when she discovers this will from 1920 up in her grandmother's attic, the document sets up a series of mysterious events that threaten the livelihood and legacy of Ian Butler, Stony Point's mayor and Annie's love interest. Will this discovery tear them apart? (SEE EXCERPT BELOW)


The following Tuesday, Annie dropped the twins off at the church for Vacation Bible School and then drove straight to the county courthouse in Wiscasset. She wanted to make sure she was back at A Stitch in Time for the meeting of the Hook and Needle Club at eleven, so that left her without a minute to waste.
She had gone to the library the morning before to see if she could find out what connection there was between this Paul Maxwell Butler and Ian. That is, if there was any connection at all. After all, Butler was not so uncommon a name. It would be quite a coincidence, though, if a Butler from around these parts wasn't kin to Ian in some way.
A quick search of the genealogy records had told her that Paul Maxwell Butler was Ian's grandfather's great-grandfather. That was going back quite a way, but the old man was born in 1843. His grandsons were probably fathers themselves by 1920. But what had his last will been, the one that had been probated, the one his executor had seen carried out? Maybe the one from the purse lining was just an earlier version, one that had been replaced and, therefore, invalidated by a later one. No need to bring up the whole matter with Ian if the hidden will wasn't valid anyway.
She was glad when the Lincoln County Courthouse came into view. It was a stately looking red-brick building topped by a white bell tower. Annie went up the front steps, through the arched entryway and through the front door. After a few inquiries, she found out where she could request copies of probate records. The woman behind the counter was slight and fortyish with overly teased dark blonde hair. Her nameplate said "Carol Burke."
"May I help you?"
Annie smiled at her. "Yes, I hope you can. I'm looking for any probate records you have for a Paul Maxwell Butler. He died on May 17, 1920. I'd particularly like to get a copy of the will, if one was filed."
"Butler?" Ms. Burke lifted one eyebrow. "One of the Stony Point Butlers."
"Well, yes, actually. How'd you know?"
"Oh, just a guess really. I mean, obviously there are Butlers from all over, but I know about the lighthouse out there and everything. I live in Broad Cove. The Butlers of Stony Point have been pretty well known all around there for a long, long time."
"They certainly have. I happened to come across some old records of theirs, and I wanted to find out just how they fit into the disposition of Paul Butler's estate."
"Let me see what we have. You said the date of death was May 17, 1920?"
She checked something on her computer screen and then smiled. "Yes, we do have a probated will on file for a Paul Maxwell Butler, date of death May 17, 1920. If you would like a copy, fill in this request form. Once you've filled it out, return it to me with the fee. That's one dollar per page for the copies. Then I'll make the copies and give them to you."
Annie smiled. "That's it? I get them right now?"
"Right now." Ms. Burke smiled, too. "You fill out that form, and we'll have you on your way in no time."
When she finally had a copy of the will in hand, Annie glanced at her watch and realized this had taken more time than she had anticipated. With a quick thank you to Ms. Burke, she fished her keys out of her purse and hurried to her car. She knew she didn't have much time before the Hook and Needle Club meeting started, but she couldn't resist at least a peek.
The will that had been probated and filed with the county court was dated June 7, 1917. It looked very similar to the one that had been hidden in the lining of the purse that had been up in Annie's attic. Annie scanned it quickly until she came to the bequests.

I give, devise and bequeath to my grandsons, Robert Paul Mayfield and Andrew Alexander Butler, in fee simple, an equal share of all of my property which I may own at the time of my death, real, personal and mixed, tangible and intangible, of whatsoever nature and wheresoever situated, including all property which I may acquire or be entitled to after execution of this Will, to be theirs absolutely.

In the will she had found, Andrew Butler had been specifically excluded from any inheritance, and Robert Mayfield had been his grandfather's sole heir. In this one, the will that had been probated and executed, Andrew and Robert had shared the inheritance equally. But the other will, the one excluding Andrew, was dated January 9, 1920. It should have replaced this earlier one. And if so, if Paul Butler had disinherited his grandson Andrew, then Ian's part of the family should never have inherited the sawmill or the land it stood on.
For reasons of which he is well aware. Hmmm. What might Andrew have done to stir up the old man's anger or, at least, disapproval? It must have been fairly serious if he went as far as completely disinheriting his grandson. She needed to get more information. But right now, she needed to get to A Stitch in Time.

ANNIE'S MYSTERIES (in order of publication):

The Lady in the Attic by Tara Randel
Medals in the Attic by Cathy Elliott
The Photo Album by Marlene Chase
Letters in the Attic by DeAnna Julie Dodson
The Package by Sharon Dunn
The Map in the Attic by Jolyn Sharp
Rag Doll in the Attic by Jan Fields
Boxed In by Karen Kelly
The Deed in the Attic by K. D. McCrite
Emeralds in the Attic by Jan Fields
The Wedding Dress by Mary O'Donnell
The Valise in the Attic by Jan Fields
The Unfinished Sonata by K. D. McCrite
The Stolen Canvas by Marlene Chase
A Man of His Word by Karen Kelly
The Key in the Attic by DeAnna Julie Dodson
Road Trip! by Jan Fields
The Tapestry in the Attic by Mary O'Donnell
Gunns & Roses by Karen Kelly
The Legend of Fuller's Island by Jan Fields
A Stony Point Christmas by K. D. McCrite
A Spicy Secret by D. Savannah George
The Cats and the Riddle by Jan Fields
Jazzed by Donna Kelly
The Diary in the Attic by DeAnna Julie Dodson
Angels in the Attic by Mary O'Donnell
Wild Things by Karen Kelly
The Kennel Caper by Jan Fields
The Legacy in the Attic by DeAnna Julie Dodson
The Ring in the Attic by K. D. McCrite
©2008-2010, DeAnna Julie Dodson, All Rights Reserved. Website by Heavenspeace.