Sunday, December 4, 2016

DIGGING UP THE DIRT by Miranda James

Publisher:    Berkley
Published:   September 6, 2016
ISBN:        978-0425273067
Genre:       Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Back home after a wedding that wasn’t due to a murder that was, sisters An’gel and Dickce Ducote are ready to get down to life as usual in Athena.  First up on their agenda is a meeting of the Athena Garden club to start planning club’s annual home tour.  When they arrive they receive quite a surprise—former Athena resident, Hadley Partridge has returned and he plans to restore his family home to its glory days, aka, the days before his brother Hamish took over. And despite the passage of 40 years, Hadley hasn’t lost any of his looks or charm. In fact, if anything, he’s even more attractive, at least to the senior ladies in the garden club.  So much so that one of the club ladies are found dead not long after the meeting ends.  On the heels of Sarinda’s murder, another club member is run off the road and left for dead.  While the sisters don’t want to meddle and firmly believe in Chief Deputy Kanesha Berry’s ability, they may have a clue as to who done it.  For each question answered, the sisters find another one pending.  And when An’gel’s car is struck from behind, is it an accident tor is the killer coming after the octogenarian?

Miranda James is one of my all time forever, favorite cozy authors.  He creates the most wonderful characters – true to life with marvellous personalities that make you want to at least sit down and have a coffee with them if not know them personally.  Even with some quirky names, like Mrs. Turnipseed, the characters are realistic in their actions, motivations and reactions. Added to the mix are some wonderful “southernisms” that appear to be very much parts of James’ personality. 

James’ story telling is a wonderful weaving of past stories with the current so you can see how the characters are developing over time – and he does it in a gradual, believable way.  when his own twisted secrets are revealed, there is the desire to know what is driving him. And since the Southern Ladies are an off shoot of James’ Cat in the Stacks series, readers get to visit Charlie and one of my all-time favorite characters, Diesel, along with the sisters. 

The mystery in this one had some fun twists and a couple of surprises along the way. 

As much as I like the sisters, I have to say that Endora the cat and Peanut the labradoodle are the stars of the story.  Their antics give you a smile if not an outright chuckle in the middle of crime solving.

Even though each book builds on the one before, the books do not have to be read in order.  But no matter which order you read them, you don’t want to miss any.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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