Fresh from their maiden voyage (The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree, 2010, etc.), members of the Darling Dahlia Garden Club solve a second crime.
In the early years of the Depression, life in the small town of Darling, Ala., is a struggle even for gardeners who raise their own food. So Dahlia stalwarts Liz Lacy, Verna Tidwell and Bessie Bloodworth are grateful for the diversion provided by two new ladies who’ve moved into the home of the reclusive Miss Hamer. One is Miss Hamer’s niece Nona Jean Jamison, whom Verna recognizes as Lorelei LaMotte, the naughty half of the Ziegfeld Follies Naughty and Nice Sisters. Liz has her own problems when she learns that her overbearing mother has lost her house in the stock market crash and is planning on moving in with Liz. The ladies are sure there’s something up when Nona Jean goes to the beauty parlor and has her flowing platinum locks bobbed and died brown. A little judicious snooping reveals Nona’s connection with the notorious Al Capone. When one of Capone’s henchmen arrives in town looking for Nona and her friend, who’s remained sequestered in her room, the Dahlias know they’re in for trouble. These flowers of Southern womanhood are a lot tougher than they appear, however, and they have a plan to rid Darling of the hit man.
Not the most difficult mystery to solve, but still literate and well-researched, with recipes and cleaning tips appended.