It's the summer of 1944 and the world seems mired in a war that will never end. On the home front, the people of Elderberry, Georgia, are doing everything they can to support the troops. Even with a war on, the peaches are ripe for picking. As veteran teacher Miss Dimple Kilpatrick and her colleagues work in the orchard, they hear frantic calls for help: An eighteen-year-old girl, Prentice, has been missing—and is later found murdered.
Miss Dimple and her fellow teachers-turned-sleuths are determined to find the killer. Although Prentice had recently broken up with her boyfriend, the most obvious suspect isn't always the right one: Prentice may have been keeping some secrets; and a local woman claims to have witnessed the whole abduction—except she also believes she is Scarlett O'Hara, that Nazi spies are pursuing her, and that she knows where the Confederate gold is buried. Figuring out what really happened to Prentice is sure to be a challenge. But Miss Dimple, who has taught the town's first graders for decades, has never been daunted by a challenge.
Mignon F. Ballard's newest edition to her Miss Dimple mystery series, Miss Dimple Picks a Peck of Trouble, is filled with period charm and a wonderfully brave band of amateur sleuths.
At the start of Ballard's delightful fourth WWII-era mystery featuring Elderberry, Ga., first-grade teacher Miss Dimple Kilpatrick (after 2013's Miss Dimple Suspects), a scream causes Miss Dimple to pause while she's picking peaches in an orchard one summer morning. She soon learns that pretty 18-year-old Prentice Blair, who was working alone at the nearby Peach Shed, has disappeared. Could Prentice's lanky, good-natured boyfriend, Clay Jarrett, with whom she recently broke up, be involved in some way? When Prentice's body is found by the old mill, where she and Clay liked to neck, things look bad for Clay. Eccentric "Mad Hattie" McGee, who says she witnessed Prentice's abduction, could exonerate Clay, but can you trust the word of a woman who claims that Nazi spies are after her and that she knows the location of buried Confederate gold? Plenty of period Southern charm will satisfy cozy fans.