About the Book
Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in A Southern Ladies Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: October 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads...
The new series from the author of The Silence of the Library and Murder Past Due...
New York Times bestselling author Miranda James returns to Athena, Mississippi, with an all-new mystery featuring Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, two snoopy sisters who are always ready to lend a helping hand. But when a stressed socialite brings murder right to their doorstep, even they have trouble maintaining their Southern hospitality…
With the Mississippi sun beating down, An’gel and Dickce are taking a break to cool off and pet sit their friend Charlie Harris’s cat, Diesel, when their former sorority sister, Rosabelle Sultan, shows up at their door unexpectedly, with her ne’er-do-well adult children not far behind.
Rosabelle’s selfish offspring are desperate to discover what’s in her will, and it soon becomes clear that one of them would kill to get their hands on the inheritance. Suddenly caught up in a deadly tangle of duplicitous suspects and deep-fried motives, it will take all of the sisters’ Southern charm to catch a decidedly ill-mannered killer…
A brand new series by Miranda James! I love James’ “A Cat in the Stacks Mysteries”, so there was no way I wasn’t going to read the newest series, “A Southern Ladies Mystery”. This series gets off to a brilliant start. It helps that we had a special guest appearance by Diesel, the star of the “Cat in the Stacks” series. It’s always fun catching up with Diesel.
This series has a cast of characters in its own right that are fun, portrayed realistically and, of course, are mixed up in murders. This series features two elderly sisters, An’gel (pronounced “ahn-JELL”) and Dickce (pronounced “Dixie”) Ducote.
Their Southern hospitality gets them in quite a bit of trouble when a former sorority sister shows up on their doorstep claiming that a family member wants her dead. They open their door to help her, but their good intentions turn into misery. When the woman’s entire adult children and grandchildren show up, the Ducote sisters can’t help but welcome them into their home as well. It turns out to be the biggest mistake of their lives, as murder enters their home.
The Ducote sisters put on their amateur sleuth hats and get right on the case to find out if there is a murderer under their roof. The quicker they find a killer, the quicker they can get rid of their unwanted guests.
This book is filled with humor, realistic dialogue and oozes with charm. It’s a fast-paced book that I couldn’t put down. It made for an enjoyable weekend of reading. I’m definitely adding this to my “must read series” list. Excellent from beginning to end.
FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Author Guest Post
Miss Marple Hooked Me
By Miranda James
I have always had a predilection for female amateur detectives, ever since I first discovered Nancy Drew over forty years ago with The Secret of Shadow Ranch. That was the first mystery I read, and when I graduated to adult mysteries, I discovered Agatha Christie and her spinster sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. I was hooked. As much as I have enjoyed Dame Agatha’s Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple is still my favorite.
Perhaps the root of my preference lies in my upbringing. My mother had four sisters, all of whom I knew well growing up. Then there were my paternal grandmother and her sister, my three paternal great aunts, and of course my maternal grandmother. They were all strong Southern women with inquisitive minds, and I learned many an interesting tidbit about human foibles and misdeeds by playing quietly by myself in the corner while these ladies chatted. (Or gossiped, whichever you prefer.)
Spinster detectives – or “little old ladies” as they are sometimes called, not necessarily affectionately – have been part of the mystery genre since 1897, when Anna Katherine Green introduced Miss Amelia Butterworth in That Affair Next Door. Miss Amelia established the essentials for the amateur spinster sleuth – a woman of “a certain age” with enough financial means to live independently, an inquisitive turn of mind, and a depth and breadth of the knowledge of human wickedness that often shocked her more naïve neighbors.
In 2011 I met two sisters, both married with children, who made an immediate impression on me. An’gel Ducote Molpus and Dickce Ducote Little are both bright, witty, and inquisitive, and we quickly became friends. When I was working on Out of Circulation and need two spinster characters who were the arbiters of society in Athena, Mississippi, I thought of An’gel and Dickce right away. I made them quite a bit older, childless, and single, and put them in a book. Readers loved them, as do I, and when I wanted to write a second series with a couple of sisters, I didn’t have to look far for the right characters. That was the beginning of my new “Southern Ladies” mysteries, and in Bless Her Dead Little Heart, readers can see just what Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce get into on their own without Charlie Harris being in on the case. Diesel makes a cameo appearance. The sisters are cat-sitting while Charlie and his family take a well-earned vacation in France.
I’m already at work on the second “Southern Ladies” mystery, Dead with the Wind. Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce are visiting an old sorority sister to attend a wedding, and when the bride dies under strange circumstances, naturally the sisters have to poke their noses into everything. Dead with the Wind should be out in October of 2015.
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