1932 in Darling, Alabama, and Liz Lacey, the Darling Dahlias
garden club president, is in charge of planning and organizing
the Annual Watermelon Festival. The highlight of the event
is the arrival of Lily Dare, the fastest female pilot around,
along with her Dare Devil Airplane show.
The first half of the novel centers on the Dahlias, the festival
preparations and the search for a new cook for the diner –
an enjoyable read in itself. Eventually, we meet the town’s
newspaper man, Charlie, who knows Lily Dare and reveals that
Miss Dare’s plane has been sabotaged, delaying her arrival.
Charlie knows a party will be held at the Kilgore home in
Miss Dare’s honor, where Miss Dare will stay while in
town, and he asks Liz to keep an eye on the aviatrix.
When Miss Dare finally appears, she’s a sexy, flamboyant
and self-assured woman, make no secret, she has had affairs
with many men, including one of Darling’s own and possibly
even Charlie. But Liz soon learns that one of the town’s
men was being blackmailed. Was the blackmailer Miss Dare?
And who is responsible for the threats against Miss Dare and
the plane’s sabotage? Could it be jealousy or envy?
Was it one of the Dare Devils? These aspects of the mystery
held me spellbound.
This is the fourth release in the Darling Dahlias series,
but it stands alone as one of the most enjoyable cozy mysteries
I’ve read in a long time. I loved the characters, the
author’s excellent job of depicting a small rural community
during the Great Depression, and especially the portrayal
of the residents working together and surviving during hard
Reviews of other titles in this series
Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies #2
Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose #3
Darling Dahlias & the Texas Star