Mystery Review

An Angel to Die For
by Mignon F. Ballard
Minotaur Books, 2000.
ISBN: 0-312-24174-7

The dead are walking in north Georgia.  How else could you explain the empty grave of Uncle Faris and the dead woman found in the shed?  Prentice Dobson had just wanted to spend some quiet time at Smokerise, her childhood home.  She had lost her job in Atlanta and her boyfriend had moved to England.  In one year, her father and sister died, and her mother took off to Savannah.  She needed a guardian angel. 

And lo and behold, her guardian angel appears in the form of Augusta Goodnight.  Like a breath of spring, Augusta sings, laughs, cooks and puts Prentice’s life in order.  She doesn’t wave a magic wand, but guides Prentice to make the right choices.   

Prentice’s sister Maggie had broken ties with the family, and as clues come in reguarding her death, one thing becomes clear – Maggie had a child.  Prentice and Augusta drive to Athens, Tennessee.  They learn that Maggie had a son – Joey – and was a good mother.  But Sonny Gaines, the father of the child, had a drug problem and came from a family known for its temper.  There is also the feeling of being watched in the small town.  When Prentice discovers Ola Cress has Joey, Ola goes into hiding with the child.  Prentice befriends Tisdale Humphrey, who helps them contact Ola. 

On the run from Sonny’s father, Prentice, Ola, Joey and Augusta return to Smokerise.  While they are trying to solve the mystery of Maggie, the body count is rising in the mountains.   

A large nursery is interested in leasing land for horticulture from Prentice.  The nephew of the owner drops by the graveyard, causing Prentice to fear she is to be the next body.  They are interested in each other, and he comes to her aid in stopping Sonny's father.

All is once again peaceful at Smokerise.  And wisecracking Augusta Goodnight moves on to her next case. 

An Angel to Die For is the second in the Augusta Goodnight series by Mignon F. Ballard.  It is a whimsical tale filled with twists and turns that will keep the reader on their toes. 

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews
 
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