South Carolina antique shop owner Abigail Washburn wins a birdcage that's a replica of the Taj Mahal at an estate auction. The cage comes with a beautiful mynah bird named Monet, and while Abby is deciding whether she wants to keep the bird, someone breaks into her shop and steals the creature, claiming they will return her Monet when she supplies a real Monet.

Confused by the strange ransom request, Abby, who has never owned a Monet painting, thinks little of it until her mother, Mozella, disappears when the two crash Charleston's secretive St. Ophelia Ball.

To make matters worse, Abby can't locate her husband, who has been out on his shrimping vessel much longer than usual. It will take all of Abby's investigative skills to solve the mystery behind the kidnappings and bring her loved ones home safely.

The humor is ever present, with jokes about vicious Yankees and Abby and Mozella's unique ball disguises. The mystery is fun and catchy, providing just enough suspense for this smoothly plotted cozy. (May, 336 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick