Closer Than the Bones
by Dean James
ISBN 1570721831 (1-57072-183-1)
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Softcover, Overmountain Press, 2001
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Book summary: Recently retired from teaching high school English for nearly forty years, Ernestine Carpenter freely admits that she's more than a bit nosy. She is also good at solving problems, and she's let it be known, amongst her many friends and relatives, that she's willing to take on interesting jobs.Mary Tucker McElroy, well known as a patron of the arts in Southern literary circles, hires Ernie (as she is called by her nearest and dearest) to help her figure out which of her circle might have murdered one of their own. The group had gathered for the Christmas festivities at Idlewild, Miss McElroy's ancestral home in north central Mississippi, and one guest, writer Sukey Lytton, turned up dead in the pond one day, an apparent suicide.Six months afterwards, Miss McElroy is convinced that Sukey Lytton was murdered, and she wants Ernie to help her figure out the guilty party. Was it Lurleen Landry, best-selling author of Southern women's fiction? Did Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Russell Bertram kill her? Or was it his nasty, vindictive wife Alice? Maybe it was literary enfant terrible Brett Doran, who seems to have more than one secret to hide. Could Sukey Lytton's missing manuscript be the motive? Ernie finds danger lurking in unexpected places at Idlewild, as the killer continues to strike.
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