cover image Dire Happenings at Scratch Ankle: A Kate Mulcay Mystery

Dire Happenings at Scratch Ankle: A Kate Mulcay Mystery

Celestine Sibley. HarperCollins Publishers, $19 (176pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017703-4

Picturesque place names like Scratch Ankle, Plum Nelly and Hog Jowl Road and the over-the-top personalities of many in the cast don't make up for Sibley's slim plot. In her third outing, after Straight as an Arrow , Atlanta reporter and amateur sleuth Kate Mulcay is invited to the town of Rising Fawn on the Georgia-Tennessee border. Georgia state legislator ``Return'' Pickett, a Cherokee, wants her to write about his campaign to reclaim Tennessee land stolen from his tribe. Kate is accompanied by two young backwoods chatterboxes of her acquaintance, Sheena and Kim Sue Gandy, who have joined her for the weekend because ``Mommer's got to go hep midwife our aint.'' The three drive to Pickett's trailer only to find him missing and the walls drenched in blood. A beating, a kidnapping and a murder occur while they search for the missing man as Kate also uncovers a massive property scam. Grating dialect and plot twists that are either obvious or incredible pretty much sink this story. (Nov.)