Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Southern Harm (Southern B&B Mystery #2), by Caroline Fardig

Random House Publishing/Alibi, ISBN 9781984800299, November 2019

Quinn Bellandini and her sister, Delilah, run their grandfather's B&B in Savannah, Georgia. Recently, they got slightly distracted, by investigating a murder at a local restaurant. But now everything will be back to normal, right?

Unfortunately, when Quinn and her boyfriend, Tucker Heywood, are digging Tucker's Aunt Lela a new firepit in her back yard, they find a body. Even more unfortunately, it turns out to be the body of Esther Sinclair, a neighbor girl who disappeared thirty years ago, right after her high school graduation. Worst of all, older, married Lela had several run-ins with Esther, because Esther flirted with every man she met, including Lela's husband, Beau Habersham. Esther being found buried on Lela's property does not look good, and Lela is quickly arrested for Esther's murder.

And despite Tucker not wanting Quinn and Delilah to do anything dangerous, as they did in the previous murder investigation, he very much does want them to find evidence that will get Lela out of jail.

What makes this more interesting and more challenging for the Bellandini sisters is that their parents, Dixie Bellandini and Jack Anderson, were classmates of Esther Sinclair, and neither one of them wants to talk about what happened in those last weeks of their senior year.

It's easy to agree with Tucker that the sisters shouldn't do anything that might be dangerous, but it's also easy to sympathize with the sisters that his determination to keep them safe, while very much wanting them to investigate, is making it hard for them to actually do so.

We have two smart, strong, independent women, sisters who are closely bonded but also very individual. Their family and friends are also believable individuals, and worth getting to know. It's good to see someone raising at least somewhat rational concerns about safety, and if he's also the one getting them into this, well, conflicted interests aren't at all abnormal in human beings in crisis situations.

I really enjoyed this book. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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