After finishing The Shipping News which is not plot-driven I needed a story with a bit more to lead me through it. Margaret Grace succeeded on that front. The plot revolves around a temporarily kidnapped friend, a murdered drifter, and a found sapphire. The main character is an aging widow and her ten-year old granddaughter. The theme is building dollhouses. The characters are always on the looking for ways to incorporate found objects into their dollhouses. The sapphire is found inside a craft tote bag of dollhouse making materials.
This would be a perfect book for your great aunt who doesn't like things that are too messy. Or for your 11 year old niece who wants to read more grown-up books but doesn't need all the gore or sex so many books can have. It is innocent - while still a murder mystery.
Great literature? No. A good summer diversion? Yep.