From Publishers Weekly
Set in 1942 nearly a year after Pearl Harbor, Ballard's intriguing first in a new cozy series opens with Miss Dimple Kilpatrick, who's been a first grade teacher at the Elderberry (Ga.) Grammar School for almost 40 years, taking an early morning stroll through the town park. But why is a car with its headlights off following her? Soon after, the body of the school janitor turns up in a storage closet. Did the janitor, who had high blood pressure, die of a heart attack--or is something more sinister going on? When someone abducts Miss Dimple, grade-schooler Willie Elrod, who has "an inventive mind," tells his mother he saw "poor Miss Dimple being kidnapped by spies." Ballard (Hark! The Herald Angel Screamed and six other Augusta Goodnight mysteries) does a good job depicting a small American town as the factories gear up for war, young men enter the service, and everyone adjusts to rationing. (Dec.) (c)
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It’s fall 1942 in Elderberry, Georgia, and the small town has experienced the effects of WWII, with rationing and so many of its young men going off to fight. Then, just before Thanksgiving, first-grade teacher Miss Dimple Kilpatrick disappears; readers know she’s been kidnapped. Young teachers Charlie Carr and Annie Gardner only know that Miss Dimple, as they call her, would never walk out on her students in the middle of the school year. When the school’s janitor, “Christmas” Wilson, is found dead in the school’s upstairs storage room, no one realizes a possible connection between the two events. Meanwhile, Miss Dimple finds herself in a basement room, where her masked captor keeps her fed; she decides to do what she can to help herself, even though she doesn’t know why she’s being held captive. The book’s pace is as slow as molasses, but most readers won’t care because all the details of small-town life are completely engaging. Genre veteran Ballard fills her story with wonderful characters and warm humor. --Kat Kan