Vaporous Augusta Goodnight (An Angel to Die For, 2000, etc.) wafts down from heaven once more to console young widow Minda Hobbs and help her solve an old mystery involving six schoolgirls and a new murder in the former schoolhouse’s lavatory—all while feasting on her divine cranberry muffins and apricot tea. Minda, who’s returned to her family’s home in Angel Heights after her husband succumbs to a bolt of lightning, has discovered her alcoholic cousin Otto in a stall in the ladies’ loo, quite dead. What was he up to? A touch of blackmail, maybe, centering on a long-dead group called the Mystic Six, a floral pin they all wore, a quilt they patched together that Revealed All, and their heritage-proud descendants determined to keep mum about their misdeeds. The housekeeper who raised Otto vanishes for a while; a retired schoolteacher is thrashed and bashed; her brother, custodian of the schoolhouse museum, skulks about; and Minda snoops in attics and desk drawers and visits nonagenarians, quiltmakers, and kinfolk at the direction of guardian angel Augusta, who also rescues Minda’s best friend’s daughter and resolves the past mystery and current murder before flapping her wings and departing for God knows where.
Amiable enough, if you’ve a fondness for Victorian mores, southern families with more than their share of eccentrics, and a celestial version of Martha Stewart who cooks, cleans, and dematerializes when the job is done.