If only Nell O’Hara hadn’t been shocked into muteness at age eight by witnessing her mother’s murder, she’d have plenty to talk about now—fifteen years later. Just when she and her antique-dealer sister Molly learn that their ailing grandmother, seamstress Margaret Jellinek, was once on the Broadway stage, Margaret ups and dies. And when Molly and Nell return from a whirlwind tour of New York, where they’ve gone to learn more about the acting credits their grandmother never mentioned, to their haven back in Pelletreau, N.C., Enchanted Cottage Antiques is gone, blown up in an explosion that’s claimed the lives of the two friends they left in charge and raises disturbing questions about the suspicious timing of Margaret Jellinek’s death. With nothing left to hold them in Pelletreau, the two country mice go hunting for their grandmother’s remaining relatives. Their travels take them to England (where they make a comically abbreviated trip to a dog show) and Vermont (where they find an island castle bulging with family history, trust-fund millions, tales of sudden death on a grand scale, and suspicions that Nell and Molly may be killers themselves). Despite the extravagant body count, everything about Mathes’s third (The Girl Who Remembered Snow, 1996, etc.), from the charmingly light tone to the weirdly formal dialogue to the endlessly inventive plot, strongly suggests a grown-up fairy tale.