Winner of the Malice Domestic Competition for Best First Traditional Mystery Novel, a delightful Southern cozy from an award-winning author
Beth McKenzie's attempt to turn an old Southern mansion into a Bed and Breakfast called The Dixie Dew is thwarted when her first guest is found dead in bed. Murdered, it turns out. Three days later a young priest who looks better in tennis whites than clerick black, is found strangled in his chapel. The whole town of Littleboro is abuzz, and Ossie Delbardo, the town cop whose job heretofore mainly involved controlling football traffic on Friday nights, is not cut out to solve the murders.
With her barely opened B&B in danger of failing, and aided by her friend from high school and trusty handyman, Beth sets out to discover the truth of the murders. Littleboro has its share of characters, some of which are helpful and others misleading. There's Crazy Reba who lives in a tree, bathes in any bathtub she finds empty, and dumpster dives; Verna, the town know-it-all and affectionate owner of Robert Redford, a huge white rabbit; and Miss Tempie Merritt, music teacher and organist who always wears hat, gloves, and lace-trimmed white socks. When Beth herself is attacked, there's no more time for baking muffins and stencilling pineapples on the porch. She's in a race to uncover her neighbors' secrets before her hometown becomes her burial ground.