The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Darling Dahlias Series #2)

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Overview

A brand-new mystery in the "exceptional" (Booklist) series by the national bestselling author.

Rumors are sprouting in Depression-era Darling, Alabama. The town's newest visitors, Nona Jean Jamison and Miss Lake, may be the Naughty and Nice Sisters from the Ziegfeld Frolic, who specialize in dancing nearly naked.

The Dahlias suspect more than modesty when Nona denies her association. They'll have to dig ...

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The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Darling Dahlias Series #2)

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Overview

A brand-new mystery in the "exceptional" (Booklist) series by the national bestselling author.

Rumors are sprouting in Depression-era Darling, Alabama. The town's newest visitors, Nona Jean Jamison and Miss Lake, may be the Naughty and Nice Sisters from the Ziegfeld Frolic, who specialize in dancing nearly naked.

The Dahlias suspect more than modesty when Nona denies her association. They'll have to dig through clues to get to the root of the mystery...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two new people come to stay with elderly recluse Julia Hamer at the outset of Albert's delightful second mystery set in Depression-era Darling, Ala. (after 2010's The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree). Elizabeth Lacy and the other members of the garden club known as the Darling Dahlias are interested to learn that the visitors are Miss Hamer's niece, Nona Jean Jamison, and Nona's friend, Lily Lake, both former members of the Ziegfeld Frolics who danced nearly nude in their vaudeville days. When Nona (aka Lorelei LaMotte) denies her past and has her hair dyed brown at the local beauty parlor, residents become suspicious. And why does Lily always wear a veil? Meanwhile, a mysterious man from Chicago is going around town asking about Nona. While the plot evolves slowly, colorful characters and evocative period details will keep cozy fans absorbed. (July)
Kirkus Reviews

Fresh from their maiden voyage (The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree, 2010, etc.), members of the Darling Dahlia Garden Club solve a second crime.

In the early years of the Depression, life in the small town of Darling, Ala., is a struggle even for gardeners who raise their own food. So Dahlia stalwarts Liz Lacy, Verna Tidwell and Bessie Bloodworth are grateful for the diversion provided by two new ladies who've moved into the home of the reclusive Miss Hamer. One is Miss Hamer's niece Nona Jean Jamison, whom Verna recognizes as Lorelei LaMotte, the naughty half of the Ziegfeld Follies Naughty and Nice Sisters. Liz has her own problems when she learns that her overbearing mother has lost her house in the stock market crash and is planning on moving in with Liz. The ladies are sure there's something up when Nona Jean goes to the beauty parlor and has her flowing platinum locks bobbed and died brown. A little judicious snooping reveals Nona's connection with the notorious Al Capone. When one of Capone's henchmen arrives in town looking for Nona and her friend, who's remained sequestered in her room, the Dahlias know they're in for trouble. These flowers of Southern womanhood are a lot tougher than they appear, however, and they have a plan to rid Darling of the hit man.

Not the most difficult mystery to solve, but still literate and well-researched, with recipes and cleaning tips appended.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594534792
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Series: Darling Dahlias Series , #2
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 31,093
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include Widow’s Tears, Cat’s Claw, The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose, and The Tale of Castle Cottage. She and her husband, Bill, coauthor a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige, which includes such titles as Death at Glamis Castle and Death at Whitechapel.

Biography

Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she now lives with her husband, Bill, in the country outside of Austin, Texas. In addition to the China Bayles mysteries, she writes the Victorian Mysteries series, along with her husband, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Books, LTD.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with Albert, she revealed some fun facts about herself:

"My first job was selling ladies' undies at Woolworth's for 35 cents an hour in Danville, Illinois."

I learned to garden from my mother, who thought that the most important thing you did every spring was to plant the potatoes. I learned to read from my father, who never planted a potato in his life. Somehow, I managed to create a life and make a living between these two extremes. Happily, I haven't had to go back to selling undies. Not yet, anyway."

"I love living in the country with Bill, two black Labs, and a black cat. I'd rather read a book or write one than do just about anything else in the world, except maybe for gardening and sitting in a bathtub full of hot, hot water and bubbles. Or knitting, spinning, weaving, dyeing -- I'm a fiber-arts fanatic."

"You can find out what I'm doing today (or what I did yesterday) by checking out my web log, at susanalbert.typepad.com/lifescapes (but there's no web cam, so don't look for me in the bathtub)."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Robin Paige
    1. Date of Birth:
      1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Danville, Illinois
    1. Education:
      Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2012

    This charming group of women friends from Darling, Alabama are b

    This charming group of women friends from Darling, Alabama are back again in THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE NAKED LADIES.  Calling themselves a 'garden club', these women are much more as their lives intertwine in joyous times, times of sorrow, and in an inquisitive spirit that sets them in the center of all mysterious events in town.

    Seen around town is a stranger that looks just like a partner in the vaudeville team of the 'Naughty and Nice Sisters'.  Though she claims to be someone else, the Dahlias become suspicious when she shows up at the beauty shop to cut and dye her beautiful long blond hair to a deep brown----and she buys a red wig also.  She's supposedly staying with her hometown aunt, but suspicion increases when she wants to buy an expired sleeping prescription for that same aunt.  When a tough looking , hard speaking strange man starts asking questions about this same lady, the Dahlias go into action.

    Once again, Alberts keeps these 'girls' very sweet and southern, while showing their intelligent curiosity as  true friends, one and all.  Depression era descriptions are spot on, and descriptions of flowers and food bring the reader right into the center of the Darling Dahlias' sleuthing activities.  Fun read of an earlier time and woman's relationships.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding regional historical mystery

    In 1930, the country remains in a deep depression that hammers even small towns like Darling, Alabama; destitution is around every corner. One of the women who lost everything to the stock market collapse is the mother of Lizzy, the president of the Darling Dahlias club. Lizzy's biggest problem is to keep mom from moving into her house.

    This becomes a secondary concern when Miss Nona Jean Jamison and her friend Miss Lake come to town from Chicago to take care of her invalid aunt Miss Hamer. The Darling Dahlias' treasurer Verna Tidewell recognizes Miss Jamison as Lorelei La Mate who performed nearly naked in the burlesque show the Ziegfeld Frolic. Her companion Miss Lake stars in her own show and is never seen without a veil covering her face. Mr. Gold arrives in Darling looking for the two women. Miss Jamison learns of the male outsider but denies she is the one he seeks to Lizzy. Mademoiselle President decides to learn who the two Chicago females are really up to and why they came to her sweet home Alabama when each is a city gal. By doing so this Darling Dahlia finds she is also trying to prevent a hired gun from killing the visitors.

    This Depression Era regional thriller is a fun amusing satirical tale as the Chicago culture of gangsters and strippers invade a small town. As always in any Susan Wittig Albert's series including this one (see The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree), the reader feels transplanted in time and place as the meticulous interwoven tidbits bring to life late 1930. Dizzy Lizzy and her eccentric Darlings want to insure that the Day Chicago Dies in not in Sweet Home Alabama

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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