It is 1959 when thirteen-year-old Claire McGlaughlin's parents leave for Kenya on a missionary trip. She is sent to live with her grandmother in boring old Holly Springs, Mississippi-where nothing interesting ever happens. Soon, Claire finds she has a friend in local boy Ralphie. Even better, she discovers that the small town has a mystery, and then Holly Springs becomes anything but dull.
A rash of burglaries and rumors of a cold case murder send this budding writer into investigative mode. The nice folk of Holly Springs would never admit to anything bad happening in their hometown, especially bad things perpetrated by one of their own. They go so far as to deny a murder ever occurred, but Claire is sure they must be hiding something.
With the help of her new pal, Claire sets out to solve the mystery. Along the way, Claire and Ralphie make the acquaintance of vicious dogs, a shotgun-waving crazy lady, and an angry sheriff . What's more, an unknown Mary Cassatt painting and a dog with mysterious powers may be the keys to unraveling a mystery that has haunted the town of Holly Springs for much too long.
"This inspiring novel of teenage angst set in a small Southern town captures the emotions of doubt, rejection, and love. It provides a convincing demonstration of the resilience of teenagers who are so often dismissed by adults who cannot see beyond their myopic preconceptions of adolescence (and have forgotten their own teenage years)."
-B. C. Crawford, Educator, Oxford, Mississippi