A candidate for the most charming mystery of the year, this debut from the author of the hit play/movie Any Wednesday transplants upscale New Yorkers Merrie and Warren Spencer (retrenching from stock-market mishaps) to Davis Landing, North Carolina, where Merrie's Davis kin and the womenfolk at the garden club call her Merrie Lee and ``do declare'' she oughtn't to fret about Miss Emily up and dying from her pesky broken leg. But Merrie not only frets but wonders whether Miss Emily's beautiful sister Sammy Jo—with the help of her married beau, Luther, of the trashy Tryons—had anything to do with it. Then Sammy Jo simply expires, as does Elvira Lewis, and poor Sarah Taylor is killed by a hunter's arrow. Meanwhile, the community saint, Miss Eulalia (uncomplaining about having to tend to her simple-minded brother, Bubba) is busy ministering herbs and poultices to all; she also seems mighty keen on Merrie Lee drinking her ``blood strengthener.'' After a quick trip to her nonagenarian Aunt May in New York, plus a run-in with the town council, Merrie Lee solves the murders—just in time to host the annual Historic Homes Tour. A delight, amiably skewering both yuppie and southern traditions. Merrie Lee is a winner—and so is this mystery.
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