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By Margaret Grace

Berkley Prime Crime, 2008 ($6.99)
ISBN-10: 0425219801
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-223055

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Geraldine Porter is just a girl who can't say "no." Actually, she's not a girl, but a retired teacher and doting grandmother with a very busy life. Any time anyone needs another committee member, volunteer, or shoulder to cry on, they know Gerry will help out.

Gerry's schedule is filled to overflowing, getting things ready for a visit from her ten-year-old granddaughter Maddie, teaching crafts classes, and preparing miniature room projects for several businesses. The town of Lincoln Park, California, celebrates everything Lincoln (as in Abe), and Christmas festivities are due to start on December 13, Mary Todd Lincoln's birthday.

Even so, when a casual friend, Dolores, calls, frantic because her eighty-nine-year old grandmother Sofia has disappeared from The Mary Todd House, an upscale residence for the elderly, Gerry drops everything to come to her rescue. The police don't seem too concerned about Sofia's disappearance, so Gerry calls her contact in the police department, her nephew Skip, and convinces him to take the case seriously.

Sofia is located unharmed, but things take a turn for the worst. She is implicated in a murder, and the authorities are very concerned about that. Gerry doesn't consider herself an amateur sleuth, even though she has been known to assist the police with their inquiries in the past. She's pretty sure the authorities are on the wrong track, and with some encouragement from Maddie, a wanna-be Nancy Drew, she sets out o prove Sofia is innocent.

This is a charming addition to the Minature Mystery series. Gerry and Maddie make a fine crime solving duo, and their relationship is strong and loving. There are lots of details about the very serious hobby of making miniature rooms and buildings, which I wasn't sure I'd be interested in, but I became fascinated with the complexity of it, and the dedication of those who pursue the craft. The first book in the series is MURDER IN MINIATURE, MAYHEM IN MINIATURE is the second, followed by MALICE IN MINIATURE, 2009, and the latest, MOURNING IN MINIATURE, also 2009.

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