To Live and Die in Dixie

Kathy Hogan Trocheck, Author HarperCollins Publishers $20 (284p) ISBN 978-0-06-017924-3
While some mannerly mysteries call for a cup of tea and a plate of scones, Trocheck's Georgia-based tale suggests iced coffee and cornbread. The second appearance of sleuth Callahan Garrity, a 34-year-old former policewoman who runs the ``House Mouse'' cleaning service, offers the smooth writing and feisty characters introduced in the notable Every Crooked Nanny . While sprucing up the messy mansion of racist Civil War buff Elliott Littlefield, Callahan's cleaners find the bloody corpse of a 17-year-old girl. Although a similar homicide occurred in his home 20 years earlier, Littlefield maintains his innocence, insisting that the killer also stole the valuable diary of a Civil War madam. Hired by Littlefield to investigate the robbery, Callahan plainly itches to implicate her Rebel-loving employer in the murder. Callahan's detective pursuits merge seamlessly with details of her home-based relationships with her nosy mother and steady beau, with attention also given to Callahan's earlier bout with breast cancer and a teenage character's bulimia. Even though the roster of eccentric House Mouse employees is less involved than before, other memorable Southern personalities and on-target dialogue lift this appealing whodunit well above the norm. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1993
Release date: 07/01/1993
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