cover image The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies

Susan Wittig Albert. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-24128-8

Two new people come to stay with elderly recluse Julia Hamer at the outset of Albert's delightful second mystery set in Depression-era Darling, Ala. (after 2010's The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree). Elizabeth Lacy and the other members of the garden club known as the Darling Dahlias are interested to learn that the visitors are Miss Hamer's niece, Nona Jean Jamison, and Nona's friend, Lily Lake, both former members of the Ziegfeld Frolics who danced nearly nude in their vaudeville days. When Nona (aka Lorelei LaMotte) denies her past and has her hair dyed brown at the local beauty parlor, residents become suspicious. And why does Lily always wear a veil? Meanwhile, a mysterious man from Chicago is going around town asking about Nona. While the plot evolves slowly, colorful characters and evocative period details will keep cozy fans absorbed. (July)