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The Darling Dahlias & the Confederate Rose
Darling Dahlias Mysteries, No 3
Susan Wittig Albert

Berkley Hardcover
September 4, 2012 - ISBN-10: 0425247767
Historical Mystery / American / Alabama – 1930s

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks

When Mr. Deyancy (Cypress county treasurer) dies, Verna’s boss is put in charge which means Verna now has double the duty. This also makes her the perfect suspect when a large amount of money goes missing. Verna is banned from the building and someone the ladies least expect comes to Verna’s aid, but can they trust her? The embezzlement storyline is the primary thread. The suspense held my attention throughout the story.

In another thread, Bessie owns Magnolia Manor and one of the residents, Miss Roger (local librarian), has a tomcat terrorizing the manor and residents. She finally comes to her senses when the tom shreds her grandmother’s coveted pillow. The cover of the pillow is ruined but the pillow itself reveals a possible encryption – a message. They take the pillow to Charlie who doesn’t take it seriously at first – and this may be why I thought this thread lagged a bit for me. They toy with the idea that Grandma Rose may have been a spy…

The third thread has the hotel owner’s wife, Angelina Biggs, acting strangely and making things up. Her gossip targets Charlie as well as Beulah who runs the local beauty shop. This thread was very interesting and reminds us of the importance of Government regulations and taking gossip with a grain of salt.

I think this title is my favorite in the series so far. Although it’s full of historical detail it’s not overwhelming. It takes place in an era of survival (1930s) where everyone has to earn their keep. No credit cards. As usual the ladies stay as busy as one must to survive. Rations were scarce but daily chores weren’t. The ladies are strong in nature; they take care of the local gardening and each other. It’s a pleasant, enjoyable mystery with some charming, likeable characters.

Reviews of other titles in this series

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies #2
The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose #3
The Darling Dahlias & the Texas Star #4

Reviewed 2012