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by Virginia Brown
Bell Bridge Books, June 2009
308 pages
ISBN: 0982175655

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

DIXIE DIVAS is the first in the new Dixie Divas Mystery Series by Virginia Brown. After her divorce, 51-year-old Eureka 'Trinket' Truevine has moved back to her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi to live with her parents in the family home. Her cousin, Bitty Hollandale, invites Trinket to a meeting of the Dixie Divas, a group of local women who share a special bond and are sworn to secrecy as far as their activities.

When Bitty's ex-husband, Senator Phillip Hollandale, goes missing and then ends up dead in Bitty's basement, the police peg her as the obvious suspect, especially since their divorce was less than amicable. Trinket enlists the help of the Divas to clear her cousin's name and identify the real killer. When another body turns up in a home Bitty has been trying to get listed on the Historic Register, secrets from the past are unearthed that throw the whole town into a tizzy.

The story gets off to a bit of a slow start, being told from Trinket's point of view and interspersed with a great number of personal observations and explanations as to who's who and what's what in this small town famous for its Civil War history. Once all the exposition is over, however, Trinket's story becomes lightly fast-paced and funny. Brown's characters offer a decent variety of personalities: vivacious Southern belle Bitty, modest and conservative Trinket, handsome vet Dr Coltrane, crotchety Mr Sanders, Trinket's elderly but fun-loving parents, and the women who make up the Dixie Divas themselves.

The occasional authentic Civil War historical facts, sprinkled with some fictional speculation, are a nice touch. Brown throws a nice plot into the mix as well, with some quirky twists and comedic antics on the part of the Divas, all of which lead to an outcome that is both unexpected and satisfying, a combination that makes for an entertaining read.

Reviewed by J.B. Thompson, September 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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