A tale infused with Southern charm of an amateur detective trying to locate a pregnant kidnapping victim before her due date.
In all of Zinnia, Mississippi, there’s nowhere more Christmassy than Dahlia House, whose resident haint, Jitty, has taken to enacting scenes from The Nutcracker, sorely trying the patience of resident owner Sarah Booth Delaney (Sticks and Bones, 2017, etc.). Jitty is an acquired taste with a mischievous sense of humor that Sarah Booth suspects may have gotten her in trouble when she was the nanny to Sarah Booth’s great-great-great-grandmother. But Sarah Booth can’t be too bothered by the spirit’s spiritedness when this is the first holiday in quite a while in which she and her animal companions, Sweetie Pie the coonhound and Pluto the black cat, are joined by Sheriff Coleman Peters. Any seasonal dreams of sugarplums are interrupted when Sarah Booth’s friend Cece Dee Falcon shows up at the door with awful news: Cece’s pregnant cousin, Eve, has been kidnapped by someone demanding a substantial ransom. As the proprietor and staff of the Delaney Detective Agency, Sarah Booth is on the case. Since she can’t involve the law, aka her boyfriend, she relies on her friend Tinkie Richmond, whose husband, Oscar, can finance Sarah Booth and Tinkie’s quest to get to the bottom of things. Searching from high-end country clubs to seemingly deserted shacks, the two resolve to find Eve before her baby is born. That’s not Sarah Booth’s only Christmas wish: She also hopes Jitty will connect her with her long-dead parents as a special Christmas gift from beyond.
A stocking stuffed with something for everyone: a friendly house-ghost, cats and dogs, a hunky romantic lead, and the requisite crime. Perhaps that’s why this parcel seems a bit bloated. But hey, it’s Christmas.