Those sixtyish southern sisters Patricia Anne and Mary Alice get a call from their cousin Luke, whos in despair, for his wife Virginia has run off with a preacher.

The sisters go with Luke to the church of Virginias "beloved." When Luke doesnt come out, the sisters go in to find him unconscious near a dead woman on a pew. Theres no sign of Virginia.

The womans death does allow Mary Alice to meet Sheriff Virgil Stuckey. (She thinks he looks like Cary Grant, everyone else says Willard Scott.) Then Virginias car is discovered with another corpse in it, but still no Virginia.

Reading about these southern sisters is like a visit with old friends If you have never had the pleasure of meeting them, MURDER CARRIES A TORCH makes for an excellent starting point.(Jul., 272 pp., $23.00)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg