A first outing for poor Eliza Figg, who's been stuck in tiny Minerva, Georgia, first nursing her mama, then, on her death, cheering up her daddy, and now, on his remarriage to the petite, young Olivia, taking in the frightened, very pregnant Melody--who was boarded with the family years ago until Social Services could place her permanently, and who's now returned with nowhere else to go. Sweet Mattie is soon born, and then Melody simply disappears. Eliza, juggling babycare with her promotion work at Bellawood, an early plantation open to the public, soon has her friends, including local cop Kemper Mungo, looking for Melody, and finding: a twin sister! A pesky neighbor will die, and so will another neighbor's pesky dog, before Melody--or is it twin sister Marilyn?- -is spotted jogging in an Atlanta park, one of them all the while phoning Eliza and wanting little Mattie.... Much southern charm, and Eliza's metamorphosis from loather of second wives and babies to champion of both is touching--but Ballard's (Final Curtin, etc.) antediluvian notion of hinging a plot on twins is a serious downer. Another case for Eliza is in the works.