Monday, August 21, 2006

Early Patricia Sprinkle

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Before she started writing the McLaren Yarborough mysteries, Patricia Sprinkle had another Southern Mystery series, featuring Sheila Travis.

"A Mystery Bred in Buckhead" is set in Atlanta, Georgia and the main characters are relatives of Sheila, who help make up some of Atlanta's old line families.

The story begins with a killing that takes place years earlier, 1941,during WWII, at an engagement party. A young soldier is killed because he was making unwanted advances to the sister of one of the guests, her brother fought with him and he fell and hit his head. It was an accident, but was covered up, and nothing was ever said about it again. Until...........

A few years later, we find Elouisa Whetlock, a kitchen maid to Peggy Marsh. She is filling in for the regular maid, and Peggy gets angry at her for breaking dishes and fires her. On her way out the door, Elouisa picks up five envelopes full of paper and puts them in the sack with her clothes.

Fast forward to the 1990's. Elouisa is in her nineties, and wants to make amends for her theft. She wants to give those five envelopes back to Peggy's family, even though Peggy is long dead. She calls Sheila's Aunt Mary and tells her she has some envelopes and asks her to come and get them and take them back to the family that rightfully owns them. Turns out, Peggy marsh was Margaret Mitchell, and the envelopes contain part of a book she was working on when she was hit by a car and killed. No one knew she was writing a book set during WWII, and the knowledge really stirred things up, because it was the story of the killing.

The killer wants those papers. Sheila wants them, too, because she's intrigued by the idea that they might be part of a Margaret Mitchell manuscript, and certain family members want them because they think they might be recognized in the character descriptions. Sheila doesn't know about the killing back in the 40's. In the race to get the manuscript, two more murders are committed, and Sheila ultimately connects all the dots, and the whole story comes out.

This book had an interesting premise, I thought, and the characters were well drawn. I'll probably go back and read some more of this series, but I'll have to find them at used book stores, or buy them used at Amazon.com, I think.

1 comment:

saz said...

My library has some of her books from the late 80's early 90's but not this one. Sounds good.

I forget if you visit Claude's "Blogging in Paris" but you should see her pictures today from her trip to York. She has a few with the name "Betty" - she does fotos of street numbers - signs and names as well as other incredible shots.