MURDER IN THE CHARLESTON MANNER by Patricia Houck Sprinkle

MURDER IN THE CHARLESTON MANNER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A second outing for Sheila Travis (Murder at Markham), now on vacation from her job at Markham Institute, and persuaded by her rich, idle, clever Aunt Mary to visit the Charleston household of Mary's old friend Dolly Langdon, nÉe Wimberly. Ailing Dolly, in her 70s, is worried about a series of minor accidents plaguing the house she shares with older sister Marion, an antique-dealer and pillar of the Historical Society. Domestic chores are handled by longtime housekeeper Nell and recently hired nurse Francine. Frequent visitors are Dolly's widower son-in-law Buddy and grand-daughters Beca and Rake. With Sheila's arrival, meanwhile, the incidents escalate--a fan blade flies loose in the kitchen; Marion takes a fall and thinks she was pushed; the family silver and Bible are stolen--nothing calamitous until nurse Francine is killed, seemingly by accident but soon pronounced murder. The unmistakable murder of icy neighbor Rhoda Bennett is next. Sheila ineptly plays detective and, at Dolly's request, picks up where Francine left off in compiling a short family history of the Wimberly family. It's in that history, of course, that answers lie, but not until another victim barely escapes death, bringing Aunt Mary to the rescue, does it all come clear. The author tells a rambling story--full of chatter, glasses of iced-tea, Charleston history, and quaint southern types--amiable, fluttery and ultimately tedious.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's