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Murder on a Girls' Night Out: A Southern Sisters Mystery

Murder on a Girls' Night Out: A Southern Sisters Mystery

4.1 33
by Anne George

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A Different Kind of Sister Act

Patricia Anne -- "Mouse" -- is respectful, respectable, and demure, a perfect example of genteel Southern womanhood. Mary Alice -- "Sister" -- is big, brassy, flamboyant, and bold. Together they have a knack for finding themselves in the center of some of Birmingham's most unfortunate


A Different Kind of Sister Act

Patricia Anne -- "Mouse" -- is respectful, respectable, and demure, a perfect example of genteel Southern womanhood. Mary Alice -- "Sister" -- is big, brassy, flamboyant, and bold. Together they have a knack for finding themselves in the center of some of Birmingham's most unfortunate unpleasantness.

Country Western is red hot these days, so overimpulsive Mary Alice thinks it makes perfect sense to buy the Skoot 'n' Boot bar -- since that's where the many-times-divorced "Sister" and her boyfriend du jour like to hang out anyway. Sensible retired schoolteacher Patricia Anne is inclined to disagree -- especially when they find a strangled and stabbed dead body dangling in the pub's wishing well. The sheriff has some questions for Mouse and her sister Sister, who were the last people, besides the murderer, of course, to see the ill-fated victim alive. And they had better come up with some answers soon -- because a killer with unfinished business has begun sending them some mighty threatening messages...

Editorial Reviews

The appealing protagonists of this book are unlikely sisters: Mary Alice is a big woman with big appetites and has been widowed more than twice. Patricia Anne is small, respectable, and has been married to the same man for more than 30 years. But when Mary Alice finds trouble, Patricia Anne's there to help out. Lovely snippets of sisterly rivalries and sisterly love.

Margaret Maron

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A refreshingly different heroine, retired Alabama schoolteacher Patricia Anne Hollowell, is drawn into a murder investigation after her colorful sister, Mary Alice, buys a country-western club. When the previous owner is found gruesomely murdered, the suspects include the club's cook, one of Patricia Anne's former prize students. Sprightly dialogue and a humorous eye for detail get this mystery off to a promising start. However, once the offbeat characters are introduced, they and their relationships fail to change or deepen. The dialogue becomes repetitive, and the telling domestic observations lapse into trivia. Clues accumulate more through coincidence than through investigation, with the conclusion weighed down by a welter of implausible connections and old secrets. (Feb.)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Southern Sisters Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

Murder on a Girls' Night Out
A Southern Sisters Mystery

Chapter One

Mary Alice flung her purse on my kitchen table, where it landed with a crash, pulled a stool over to the counter and perched on it. "Perched" may not be the right word, since Mary Alice weighs two hundred and fifty pounds. The stool groaned and splayed, but it held. I began to breath again.

"I have decided," she announced, "that I am not going gentle into that good night."

"Thank God," I said. "We were all worried about you. Last year when you dyed your hair Hot Tart—""Cinnamon Red."

"Well, whatever. We all said, 'There she goes gentle.

Mary Alice giggled. She's sixty-five years old, but she still giggles like a young girl. And men still love it.

"That was a little much." She patted her hair. "This is just plain old Light Golden Blond. It's what you ought to use, Patricia Anne."

"Too much trouble." The timer went off on the stove and I took out a batch of oatmeal cookies.

"It would charge Fred's batteries."

"There's nothing wrong with Fred's batteries." I went around her to get a spatula and opened the drawer too hard, banging it against my leg. How long had it taken her to get to me this time? One minute? No record. In the sixty years we have been sisters, I figure the record is somewhere below zero, into the negative integers of time. Absolute proof of the theory of relativity.

"Well, your hair sure could use some help."

I scooped up a hot cookie and handed it to her. Bum, baby, bum.

Mary Alice blew on the cookie. A couple of crumbs fell on her turquoise T-shirt, which declared "Tough Old Bird" and which had apelican with a yellow beak peeking around the words. Given the expanse and jiggle of Mary Alice's chest, that bird was having a rough flight. "Hand me a paper towel," she said. I tore one off and gave it to her. She sank her small teeth into the cookie. "Ummm," she said. "Ummm."



I put the plate by her. "You want some tea?"

"Ummm." She reached for a second cookie. "Mouse," she said, "these are great."

I banged the ice into the glasses. Mouse. The old childhood nickname.

Mary Alice looked up. "I'm sorry. It just slipped out."

I sighed. "It doesn't matter."

"And mice are little and cute."

"And can bite."

"Yeah. I'd forgotten about that." Mary Alice has a crescent scar on her leg where I bit her when I was three and she wouldn't let me play with her Shirley Temple doll. Daddy had liked to tell the story and said he thought they were going to have to wait until it thundered to get me to turn loose, a reference to snapping turtles. He and Mother had called me Mouse, too, though. And say what you please, if Mary Alice and I hadn't been born at home, I know they would have been at the hospital having the records checked to make sure we hadn't been mixed up. Whereas Mary Alice had been born a brunette with olive skin, I had been a wispy blonde and pale. She had been healthy and boisterous; 1, sickly and quiet. My big teeth should have been hers. You name it; if it could be different, it was.

"I know a woman named Jean Poole," Mary Alice said. I smiled. We had been thinking the same thing. "What I came to tell you, though, is I've bought a country-western bar named the Skoot 'n' Boot. Up Highway 78."

I laughed and reached for a cookie.

"When Bill and I were in Branson, Missouri, last spring, we learned how to line dance, and we've been going out to the Skoot 'n' Boot every Thursday night. It's a lot of fun. You and Fred ought to try it."

"Are you serious?"

"Of course I'm serious. Y'all don't do enough. Fred's only sixty-three. Bill's seventy-two and he just loves it. He"s hardly out of breath when it's over." Bill Adams is Mary Alice's current "boyfriend." I swear that's what she calls him. He showed up trying to sell her a supplement to her Medicare and he never really left.

"No, I mean about buying this place."

"Sure I'm serious. I told you I wasn't going gentle into that good night."

"Nobody thought you were, Sister."

"And country-western bars are hot right now. Everybody's going to them, getting dressed up in their fringy clothes and boots."

"Fringy clothes?"

"Stuff with fringe on it. You know." Mary Alice stretched her fingers out from her chest as if she were pulling bubble gum from the pelican's beak. "Fringe. Tassles."

"Where is it, this bar?"

"The Skoot 'n' Boot. I told you. It's about twenty miles out Highway 78. Bill and I were in there the other night and got to talking to the man who owns it, and he said he was trying to sell it, that he needed to go back to Atlanta because both his parents are sick and he needs to be near them. He says he hates to leave because the club's doing so well. There was a crowd out on the floor line dancing and I thought, Well, why not? Roger would have liked his money invested this way. So we met at the bank this morning and I bought it."

Roger had been Mary Alice's third husband. They had all died rich and, thanks to Sister, happy. She had given each of them a child, which, considering their advanced ages, was more than they had expected. And I think she really loved them-the husbands. She has them buried together at Elmwood Cemetery for convenience...

Murder on a Girls' Night Out
A Southern Sisters Mystery
. Copyright © by Anne George. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Anne George (c.____ - 2001) was the Agatha Award-winning author of the Southern Sisters mystery series which culminate in Murder Boogies with Elvis, publishing in August 2001. Like Patricia Anne, she was a happily married former school teacher living in Birmingham, Alabama. Ms. George was also a former Alabama State Poet and a regular contributor to literary publications. During her lifetime she was nominated for several awards, including the Pulitzer. Being a true lady of the Old South, her date of birth will forever be a mystery.

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Murder on a Girls' Night Out (Southern Sisters Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anne George books and tapes are incredible. At times they will have you laughing out loud with their wit and humor. Realism, humor, mystery and more--all in one creation. Who could ask for more? After reading them, I came to the conclusion that I must have been a southern belle in a previous life ;-)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was on my lunch hour reading a book when a coworker started laughing out loud as she read her book. I asked her, 'What are you reading?' She said, 'Anne George's new book, it's so funny'. The next day I purchased her book at Barnes & Noble and one week later I had bought two more. Murder on a Girl's Night Out was my first introduction to Anne George. Patricia Anne and her sister Mary Alice remind me of the old movie, 'The Snoop Sisters.' As I read this book, I found myself laughing out loud and feeling great. Anne George has such a wonderful way with words. Now here's a real mystery, 'How does Anne George takes a murder mystery and make it funny and enjoyable?. She's a great writer. If you need something to make your day more exciting, then here's the author for you, Anne George.
3amigos More than 1 year ago
Just found Ms. George's series (Southern Sisters). Good laughs, enjoyable read for an afternoon away from the hustle of life. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended in all Anne George books or tapes. Use tapes on trips and find they are truly enjoyable. My only sorry is that she passed and we have lost such a talented writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, I really liked this book because it was fun, but still a mystery. Mary Alice and Patricia Anne are very strong characters and they make you laugh. It was very good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You'll love the Southern Sisters.
catshade13 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book which was the book of the month for my book club. I never had a sister but I think the Anne George captured the way the two sisters acted towards each other the way sisters are. I thought I had the murderer figured out but there is a very nice twist or two that surprised me. Highly recommend.
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BettyG76 More than 1 year ago
The Sisters are always a fun read. Wish I had sisters like them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved these books. So sad that when an author dies, not only do we lose her (or him -- as in James Doss) we lose the characters we've grown to love.
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twinsmom1997 More than 1 year ago
All of the books in this series are hilariously funny and if you read some mysteries in spite of the sexy scenes, you will really appreciate these books. They have a bit of bawdy humor but nothing most women couldn't share with their mothers. Anne George was a great loss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago