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The Darling Dahlias & the Texas Star
Darling Dahlias #4
Susan Wittig Albert

Berkley/ Prime Crime
September 2, 2014/ ISBN 978-0425260593
Mystery / Cozy / Historical -1930s

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


It’s 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 times.

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


Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2014