cover image The Windsor Knot

The Windsor Knot

Sharyn McCrumb. Ballantine Books, $16.95 (281pp) ISBN 978-0-345-36583-5

In her latest outing (after Paying the Piper ) amateur sleuth and student of forensic science Elizabeth MacPherson ties the knot with her reserved Scottish fiance, Cameron Dawson. Although the irrepressible Georgia resident and her beau had originally planned a long engagement, Elizabeth--a devotee of Britain's Royal Family--accelerates the wedding date so that she can attend Queen Elizabeth's annual Scottish garden party with Cameron. Under the guidance of her socially correct Aunt Amanda, Elizabeth muddles through prenuptial preparations that bring her in contact with a passel of hilarious characters, including a seamstress of the Southern belle tradition, an off-the-wall New Age catering group and the local TV weather announcer. Despite her wedding jitters, Elizabeth doesn't lose her cool when the sheriff drops in to ask her expert opinion about an urn of cremated ashes. It seems a neighborhood resident who had been presumed dead for five years just might have met his end more recently. Elizabeth is less centrally involved in the crime and detection than usual, but this doesn't diminish the appeal of McCrumb's sparkling spoof. (Sept.)