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Dead with the Wind
A Southern Ladies Mystery #2
Miranda James

Berkley Prime Crime
October 6, 2015 / ISBN 978-0-425-27305-0
Mystery/Cozy/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds



Mississippi ladies An'gel and Dickce Ducote, a lively pair of spinster sisters, leave home to attend the wedding of cousin Mireille Champlain's granddaughter, Sondra Delevan. They take their ward, nineteen year old Benjy, dog Peanut, and cat Endora with them for the event. They've gone to Louisiana a few days early in order to spend time with family members they have not seen in several years.

They are greeted by a household in turmoil, as bride-to-be Sondra is a spoiled brat who wreaks havoc on the entire family. Even the household staff is upset, and there is no peace to be had by anyone. The groom-to-be seems to be mentally a few colors short of a rainbow, but also one who should carry a rainbow flag. Marriage material for Sondra? It seems unlikely, given that he isn't even the father of her illegitimate three-year-old daughter, Tippy.

In a temper fit, Sondra rips up the antique wedding gown she doesn't want to wear and tosses pieces of it over the second floor railing down to the first floor, causing enough discord that Mireille faints away on the floor and has to be taken to the hospital, where she later is pronounced dead. Before long, a storm arises, and the next morning Benjy finds Sondra's body on the ground, apparently a murder victim, tossed from the balcony off of her bedroom. Who would want to kill the young bride? The more likely question is, who wouldn't?

I'm thrilled that I enjoyed this second book in the Southern Ladies Mystery series just as much as the first. Author Miranda James cleverly took the sisters out of their home and hometown elements and changed up not only the place, but the people they interacted with, taking the sisters to the mystery instead of bringing the mystery home to them. It was smart to bring Benjy and the pets along for the ride, too.

The story is told from the different perspectives of the sisters, and the use of a whole new cast of characters kept me paying close attention so I could understand who was who and what their various motivations might be. James weaves a tight plot with no inconsistencies or unnecessary distractions.

Dead with the Wind is an entertaining read chock-full of Southern mannerisms, eccentric characters, and true to life human foibles. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good old-fashioned cozy mystery.

Reviewers Notes: Miranda James also writes the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries

Previous reviews for this series:

Bless Her Dead Little Heart

Reviewed 2015