An antique locket holds the key to solving a murder.
Christmas festivities are well underway in the quiet town of Stone’s Throw, S.C., when a series of deaths spoil the holiday spirit. Lucy Nan Pilgrim, her guardian angel Augusta Goodnight and their friend Ellis Saxon are out looking for the perfect tree at Lucy Nan’s old family farm, now unoccupied, when they find the body of man who apparently fell from the balcony. From a nearby cottage, Preacher Dave Tansey, his wife Louella and their troublesome son Jeremiah have been looking after the house, but they don’t know the dead man, who remains unidentified. Lucy Nan and her pals are unhappy with their friend Idonia’s new beau Melrose, especially when they spot the unusual locket he just gave her in a picture of the Tanseys’ deceased daughter. When Melrose’s landlady falls to her death from the church balcony, the amateur sleuths set to work to discover the truth and perhaps save their friend from a multiple murderer.
The seventh in Ballard’s Augusta Goodnight series (The Angel and the Jabberwocky Murders, 2006, etc.) is the same mixture as before: lots of recipes and Southern mores, with a mildly diverting mystery.