Southern Ghost

Carolyn Hart, Author Bantam Books $19 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-07392-8
Hart offers a pleasing eighth entry in her multiple award-winning (Agatha, Anthony and Macavity) cozy/Southern gothic series starring mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling and her sleuth husband, Max. In 1970, the son of South Carolina's prominent Tarrant family takes his life in the aftermath of antiwar protests; his father, in shock, also dies. His mother soon dies of grief and a baby, a cousin, drowns. Dark deeds come to light 20 years later, when a young woman eager to to find her true parents reopens old wounds, aided by an elderly aunt who brings in outside help, namely Max and Annie. While Hart sidetracks us with an excess of cat lore, the tiresome supernatural musings of Max's mother and such genre stereotypes as the crusty, all-knowing matriarch and a drunken daughter, in the end she whips all into a remarkably satisfying tale. The segues to the dark night 22 years ago are chillingly effective and tantalizingly brief. A seasoned mystery maker, Hart ( The Christie Caper ), who is current president of Sisters in Crime, earns the devotion of her following. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992
Release date: 06/01/1992
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