Hush My Mouth by Cathy Pickens is the fourth book in the “Southern Fried” cozy mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, February 2008

A spring day brings attorney Avery Andrews a new case. Fran French comes from Atlanta looking for her friend Neanna, who’s more like a sister to her. Neanna went to Dacus looking for information on the unsolved murder of her aunt Wenda, and now she’s missing.

Twenty years earlier, Wenda’s body was found posed on a memorial bench in the cemetery, her packed luggage at her feet, as if ready for a journey. When Neanna is found in her car, dead from a shot to the head, the police want to call it suicide. Fran insists it’s impossible that Neanna killed herself and urges Avery to help her prove it.

While Avery is sifting through Neanna’s and Wenda’s confused past and present, her office mate Melvin Bertram is befriended by a trio of ghost hunters who arrive in search of ectoplasm from the long-dead. The trio, christened “the ghosters” by Avery, hope to talk Melvin into investing in their TV pilot, oblivious to the fact that someone is baiting them with increasingly ridiculous ghost sightings. In no time at all, the ghosters are having altercations with the resident biker gang and with Avery’s private investigator. Let no one say life in Camden County is uninteresting.

In this latest in Cathy Pickens’s Southern Fried Mystery series, Avery explores the nature of family—the ones we’re born into and the ones we find—and learns about the haunting power of the past in the process. Hush My Mouth offers an original blend of humor and mystery, peppered with quirky characters and boasting a decidedly Southern flavor.

Avery Andrews, Attorney-At-Law, has returned home to Dacus, South Carolina in the last seventh month after working in large law office.  Clients flock to her office once they see the angel in front of her office and Fran French is no exception.  Her “sister” is missing and came up to Dacus to find out what had happened to her aunt who was murdered many years ago.  After Fran’s sister is found murdered, she implores Avery to find out what happened to her sister and her aunt.  Also going on in Avery’s life is the tribulation of 3 young ghost hunters and a client whose wife had him arrested for making harassing phone calls which he claims he did not make.  I enjoyed this story hooked on southern charm.  [3 stars – liked it]

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