Silver Dagger, May 2003, 23.95, 202 pp.
The small southern college town of Gallagher, Virginia might seem quiet and tranquil to an outsider but crime historian Professor Lizzie Stuart certainly knows better. A Yankee real estate executive and a local businessman are locked in a bitter battle over the fate of downtown Gallagher. Lizzie doesn't know whose ideas are the better choice but since she just accepted a permanent position at Piedmont State University, she knows she has to get involved.
Local politics become the furthermost thing from her mind when she discovers that local artist and Piedmont student RoeAnn is missing. She hasn't come home to her baby in days and the aunt that is watching him doesn't want to get the police involved. Since Lizzie's lover John Quin is the college chief of police, she notifies him, which sets in motion a series of events that end with a local lawyer being shot. A guilty Lizzie starts asking questions which brings her to the attention of somebody who will do anything to make certain some secrets stay buried.
Once again Frankie Y. Bailey has created a realistically refreshing cozy that captures the ambiance of the area and the temperament of the people who live there. One of the charms of this series is that the heroine continues to grow and change so that readers never get bored with the character. The who-done-it is well constructed and in these cases the reader is left to ponder whether the two crimes are linked or are committed by two different individuals with separate agendas.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner