Atlanta Searchlight reporter Kate Mulcay feeds bird and squirrels, and saves spiders in her sink instead of crushing them, but this time her attachment for God's helpless creatures may have gotten out of control. When she finds out that Miss Iris Moon, the eccentric old lady who's taken in Kate's homeless friends Shag and Warty, has been killed, her first impulse is to pick up the raffish pair and shelter them from Lt. Hamrick, feeding him Miss Iris's chauffeur, Beau Forrest, as a more likely suspect. But she doesn't want Beau to get into trouble either, so she tries to keep him at arm's length from Hamrick as well, even though he insists on confessing not only to Miss Iris's killing but to a second murder that the police thought they'd solved years and years ago. Kate also finds time to intervene in cases of child abuse and prison rape--nothing that can't be taken care of with a few brisk strokes. The real spider in Kate's sink, though, is Rev. Jonathon Craven, the new rector at St. Margaret's Episcopal, who charms Kate away from her Presbyterian observances and would have charmed her into bed if it hadn't been for the constant interference of a trio of giddy teenaged flirts--one of whom is so seldom completely clothed that she's obviously up to no good. Highlights of Kate's fifth (A Plague of Kinfolks, 1995, etc.) include a round of Christmas visits and regional meals (along with a cameo by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter), lightly spiced with mystery--all utterly typical of the series: Uncle Wiggily for adults.