Magnolias, Moonlight, and Murder by Sara Rosett is the fourth book in the “Ellie Avery” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, April 2009
Settling her family – Air Force pilot Mitch, baby Nathan, and daughter Livvy – into their new home in Georgia, Ellie Avery is busier than ever. With two children under four, a party to plan for Mitch’s promotion, and new contacts to develop for her organizing business, Ellie’s eager to relax by taking Rex, the family Rottweiler, for a peaceful stroll. But what they find is anything but tranquil. As evening’s shadows fall, Ellie stumbles into an abandoned graveyard disturbed by flooding from a recent storm. It’s a chilling enough setting without the shocking spectre of two dead bodies…unearthed from the same grave. The skeleton that belongs in the washed-out gravesite is that of a young casualty of World War I. The probable identity of the fresher corpse leads Ellie into a missing-person case centred around Jodi Lockworth, a vibrant young woman who once lived in the house the Averys are now renting. Although Jodi was a beloved member of the community, her part-time gig as a newspaper reporter may have put her on the wrong side of a few prominent citizens. When Ellie discovers a vital clue in her very own home, she becomes the next target of a sinister schemer who’ll stop at nothing to protect a deadly secret. Now, with a double mystery brewing and dozens of guests about to arrive in her back yard, Ellie’s agenda is once again packed. The only thing she hasn’t pencilled in is one killer of a party crasher who intends to make this celebration Ellie’s last.
Ellie Avery is a professional organizer and mother of two children having recently moved to North Dawkins, Georgia with her air force pilot husband. On one of her nightly walks she discovered skeleton bones and at first it is suspected that it belongs to a young woman journalist who has been missing for 10 months. When Ellie finds her notebook jammed in the dresser and starts comparing her notes, someone is willing to threaten and/or kill Ellie so that the clues remains hidden. This was an enjoyable story in the series and I look forward to reading the next one. [3.5 stars]