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Miss Dimple Suspects: A Mystery (Miss Dimple Mysteries) Hardcover – January 22, 2013
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This WWII–era Georgia mystery begins with a missing sick child. First-grade teacher Miss Dimple finds the child in a winter storm and takes her to shelter at the cabin of a reclusive artist. When the artist is found murdered soon afterwards, Miss Dimple does not believe, as everyone else in the small town does, that the artist’s Asian companion, Suzy, is the killer. Suzy, whose Japanese family members are being held in an American internment camp, worries about the chances of anyone believing in her innocence. Miss Dimple and her friends hide Suzy and begin asking questions, which puts them in serious danger. There is plenty of period detail, with Miss Dimple’s fellow teacher sleuths discussing rationing and writing to overseas fiancés. The wartime setting will appeal to a wide range of readers. The strong female characters of all ages are similar in manner to those in Tracy Kiely’s Elizabeth Parker mysteries, despite that series being set in a different era. --Amy Alessio
“A cozy should make you feel good, and this one does. Characters who are good friends, a strong sense of community and a satisfying outcome make this a winner.” ―RT Book Reviews
“Ballard complicates the generally heartwarming tone of her gently nostalgic mysteries by dramatizing a shameful episode in the country's history.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Mignon Ballard has woven a story...with both charming and menacing characters.” ―New York Review of Books
“The wartime setting will appeal to a wide range of readers [with] strong female characters of all ages.” ―Booklist
“Engaging.” ―Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
Also, it will be interesting to see how things work out in the aftermath of the war.
Thius is a series which I hope will continue indefinitely.
Imagine, then, how much worse it would be for those who, by some unlucky twist of fate, found themselves as suspects in crimes they did not commit. It would be easy for them to become the easy scapegoat, quickly condemned by the communities who feared them already because of their foreign appearance and suspected allegiance to the enemy. Suzu Amaya, a young Japanese American physician, finds herself in just that situation when the aging and reclusive artist she has been living with is found murdered. Though most sanely thinking people would see how very unlikely she is as a murderer, the people of Elderberry, Georgia aren't thinking too sanely at the moment. Stirred up by gossips like Emmaline Brumlow, the members of the town quickly believe the worst of Suzu (or Suzy, the name she's been using to better fit into the caucasian society.) All, that is, except our beloved Miss Dimple and her friends. Having been the recipient of Suzy's compassionate care and witnessed her healing talents at work with a little girl who nearly died in the woods before she found her, Miss Dimple knows that Suzy is innocent. But with few people willing to believe her assertions, Dimple also knows that it's up to her to find the true murderer before Suzy, who is being sheltered at the home of Dimple's friend Virginia, is discovered and hanged for the murder. Will Miss Dimple, with a little help from fellow teachers Charlie and Annie, be able to get to the bottom of the mystery before the murderer strikes again? Even more importantly, will they be able to save Suzy from the wrongful wrath of Elderberry?
With its Southern charm and down-home feel, this installment in the Miss Dimple mystery series is the best to date! The author's handling of the delicate subjects of racial discrimination and the second world war, which is tempered by her light tone and subtle humor, adds a depth to the story that makes it stand above other cozy mysteries of its kind. As the series progresses, the characters are maturing and becoming familiar, making a visit to Elderberry feel like a trip home. Like its predecessors, its focus on friendship and bravery in the face of trying times is satisfying and uplifting. Readers who enjoy a good mystery that makes one think and leaves behind a positive glow will certainly enjoy this book.
Several days later, someone murders Mae and steals her increasingly valuable paintings; Suzy is missing though she frighteningly contacts Miss Dimple as she fears mob anti-Japanese fever before vanishing in the middle of her call. She proves right when the locals fervently believe Suzy killed Mae Martha due to her Japanese roots. Not one to embrace ignorant racism, Miss Dimple, assisted by teachers Virginia and Charlie, search for Suzy and the art while a killer stalks the trio.
The latest Miss Dimple Mystery (see Miss Dimple Disappears and see Miss Dimple Rallies to the Cause) is a fun twisting WWII cozy that focuses on the home-front Japanophobia as much as the trio's inept investigation. Although the support cast seems too stereotyped, readers will appreciate Miss Dimple Suspects the paintings are the motive.