Peyton MacGruder was called to the office of her editor, Nora Chilton, at the Tampa Times. According to a reader survey Nora tells Peyton that her column by the Heart Healer is not being read by enough people. Nora gives Peyton three weeks to bring up those reader numbers. In the meantime Peyton needs to consider where else she wants to work at the paper. On Wednesday, June 13, a flight left New York bound for Tampa. Chapter one gives details of that day including flight preparations by crew, controllers and pilots, what the passengers were doing during the flight, the food that was served in the air and the weather in New York and Tampa. Before reaching the Tampa airport the plane crashed, leaving questions as to what caused the tragedy. Of course, Tampa Times covered the crash with stories about the known facts. Days later someone stopped Peyton as she was leaving work. They gave her a sandwich bag containing a note which might have been written by a passenger of the ill fated flight. A friend at the newspaper, King, thought Peyton would save her column by finding the person who was to receive the note and writing about her search for her readers. He encouraged her to follow her heart. When Peyton wrote her first column about the note Nora read it and was surprised and upset by something she had not approved.
Then Peyton was approached by Julie St. Claire about sharing the story and getting television coverage of each step in that search. Even the CEO of the television station and newspaper asked Peyton to do this. When Peyton traveled to St. Louis for the first interview, Julie was there with a camera crew but Peyton had a signed confidentiality agreement from the first prospect. When Peyton agreed to share the story with Julie it was with the understanding that the outcome of the search would first appear in the Heart Healer on July 4. Julie St. Claire appeared with cameras at each interview location and was more invasive and upsetting to the prospects than was Peyton. Tanner Ford had even arranged with Julie to have coverage as he claimed the note was for him. Later Peyton was approached by a small strawberry blond at the lake in front of the newspaper building. She gave good reasons for claiming the note was meant for her. Julie St. Claire had planned a televised interview with Tanner Ford, the intended recipient of the note. Peyton knew he was lying and contacted him before that telecast. What would he do when Julie asked him his reaction to the note?
Hallmark's movie of The Note starred Genie Francis as Peyton MacGruder. King is played by Ted McGinley. Hallmark made several changes in the story for the movie such as the location of the newspaper and Peyton's home and the crash site. Some of the characters are different in the book and movie but both versions work. In both the book and movie there is a surprise revelation for Peyton herself and her friends. I saw the movie before reading the book and I suggest you enjoy both, too. Check the Hallmark schedule (it airs The Note Thursday evening September 18) to watch how the story unfolds and read the book which you will find on the library catalog.