Some time ago my cousin, Bridget, lent me two old paperbacks that were written by a friend of hers, Anne George. I was reading another book at the time, so I put them on a bookshelf, and there they sat for months. Recently, Bridget asked me if I had read them, and I had to admit I had forgotten all about them. Today I took the books out to look at, and saw that Anne had won the Agatha Award, named for well-known mystery writer, Agatha Christie. The award is for writers of mystery and crime fiction in a subgenre called “cozy mystery” where there is no sex or violence, the detectives are amateurs, and the setting is closed. The award was for her first novel in this series of eight books.
Both Anne and Bridget once taught at Mountain Brook High School, near Birmingham Alabama. Anne’s novels are set in my home town of Birmingham, and mention many places familiar to everyone who has ever lived there or spent a lot of time there.
Learning that Anne George and her books had received such acclaim was all I needed to start reading immediately. I began with Murder Runs in the Family, which begins at a wedding reception at The Club which is situated on Red Mountain with a magnificent view of the city. I’ve read only the first chapter, and I can already see personality types and Southern-isms in speech that I would recognize anywhere. This book will be a “hoot”.
When gathering information for this post, I found that Anne was also nominated for a 1993 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Unfortunately, Anne died in 2001, so Murder Boogies with Elvis will be the last in the Southern Sisters series. My favorite title in the series is Murder on a Bad Hair Day. I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of that one. You’ll have to excuse me for now, I have to get back to that wedding reception.