George, who died this past March, ends her Southern Sisters series (Murder Carries a Torch, 2000, etc.) with a fourth marriage for supersized Mary Alice (Sister) and a new grandchild for petite Patricia Anne (Mouse). The sisters are sitting in the front row at the gloriously restored 1920s Alabama Theater happily watching 30 Elvis impersonators swivel to the front of the stage, when one Elvis pitches forward, gouges a chunk out of the mighty Wurlitzer, and lands in the orchestra pit with a switchblade in his back. Then the immediately adjacent Elvis, one of Sister’s new in-laws, says he might have seen something, and is half-murdered himself. Meanwhile, Mouse finds the bloody switchblade in the bottom of her purse, a development almost as distressing as Mary Alice’s insistence that she wear magenta to her wedding. Why had the dead Elvis, identified as Russian émigré dancer Griffin Mooncloth, tried to contact Sister’s lawyer daughter before he died? Pretty sisters Dawn and Dusk know, but would rather not say. Some fine southern cooking goes down, gossip and motives are gaily discussed, and Dusk suddenly is missing. Returning to the theater, Sister and Mouse accidentally bump into the culprit and find themselves swathed in duct tape and next up for elimination.
Peppy as ever, with amusing takes on sisterhood, southern naming styles, aging cats and lazy dogs, and humoring husbands, whether they’re your first or your fourth. The story is nonsense, but slathered in so much lively charm the target audience will hardly notice.