Florida criminal lawyer Matthew Hope never takes a case unless he knows for sure his client is innocent. But retired schoolteacher Mary Barton - known as, "Mary, Mary, quite contrary" to her neighbors - isn't as easy woman to believe in. In fact, Mary doesn't appear interested in hiring Matthew, only in bad mouthing those she feels have done her wrong. But due to the efforts of Mary's former student, Melissa Lowndes, Matthew agrees to try to prove Mary innocent of the charges filed against her: sexually mutilating, murdering, and burying three little girls in her garden.
Making the case tougher, the State Attorney's "killer" prosecutor is assigned Mary's case. Max the Ax brings forth witnesses that swear to seeing Mary with each of the girls; Mary carrying bloody clothes to the cleaners; and Mary digging small graves late at night.
But Hope's biggest problem is Mary herself, a difficult woman swept up in horrible circumstances - a woman with secrets so terrible she can't tell them - even to save her own life.
Three young girls are unearthed in the backyard of eccentric gardener Mary Barton in attorney Matthew Hope's 10th outing. Mystery Guild main selection in cloth. (May)