I am in the middle of trying to solve two mysteries - one concerning a murder that takes place in Savannah and involves wedding cake and another that takes place in Rome and involves many cups of espresso. Much fun...except, of course, for the dead bodies.
In Killer in Crinolines, Reagan Summerside is still trying to make a go of her consignment shop, the Prissy Fox, located in her Victorian house - the only asset she received in the messy divorce from her philandering husband. Along with her Beemer-driving Aunt KiKi, she is investigating the murder of Simon, the groom, whose body was found face-down in the wedding cake.
Turns out Simon was working his way up the money chain as far as women were concerned. He had finally reached the pinnacle with the very wealthy Waynetta Waverly when a knife in his back put an end to any hope of wedded bliss. There are enough suspects to fill a Savannah tourist trolley with the most likely one being Chantilly, Reagan's friend, and broken-hearted ex-fiance of the money-grubbing Simon.
This is not a book to read when you are hungry as the characters spend a lot of time eating donuts with sprinkles, pork chop sandwiches, peach pies, and other Southern fare...and, of course, the wedding cake with its butter cream icing.
Author Duffy Brown has a great time, in this her second in the series, writing Reagan in and out of scrapes and she has a flair for capturing the eccentricities of Southern life.
Across the Atlantic Ocean in Rome, visiting librarian Jacqueline Kirby has found herself involved with a group of art and archaeology students. When an unpopular hanger-on of the group ends up dead in the ruin beneath the ruin beneath a church, all sorts of nasty things start happening to Jean, the student who found the body.
Ms. Kirby is the creation of Elizabeth Peters and The Seventh Sinner is the first adventure featuring the middle-aged librarian with her caustic wit and no-nonsense attitude. The best part about this mystery introducing Ms. Kirby is just getting to know her and her odd little quirks. There are bits of Roman history and archaeological tidbits thrown in for good measure.
Oddly enough, both Reagan and Jacqueline carry huge purses. Reagan refers to hers as Old Yeller and it is a monstrous pleather thing she picked up at Target. Jacqueline hasn't named hers (to her credit) but in the first few chapters we find that she carries, among other things, smelling salts, a policeman's whistle, a man's large handkerchief, Band Aids and Mercurochrome, along with pens, postcards and a lipstick. She is ready for anything!
I have great hopes that both women will discover the identity of the respective killers on both sides of the Atlantic. Along with my help, of course.