The Garden Plot by Marty Wingate

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This is one of those cases where I would say “don’t judge a book by the cover”.  From the cover, you would expect a cute, lighthearted cozy read, but The Garden Plot has much more to offer than that!  I was really impressed by this and I only picked it up on a whim.  The character of Pru is an interesting complex single expat American living in England.  She has returned to England after her mother’s death to make a new start and perhaps find the last remaining family that she has.  She is a trained gardener and is looking to find a permament position.  In the meantime, she does odd gardening jobs and of course stumbles across a body.  Sounds very typical for a cozy, but it’s not.

The plot is enriched by  British history, archaeology, gardening and garden restoration. It has less humor and more tension than a cozy usually has.  It is  a fine  mix of the mystery with all of the information and the romantic subplot that makes this mystery stand out.  Reminds me very much of another series I really loved by Anthony Eglin, The English Garden Mysteries.  I would highly recommend this series to cozy readers and/or fans of the Rosemary and Thyme TV series (if anyone else remembers that one).

Just FYI, an audio book in this series is offered as a prize for the Save Our Cozies Readathon July 16, 2016.

 

Deadly Gamble & A Dose of Death

 

Between Save Our Cozies Readathon admin and work PD I have hardly had time to open a book myself :(.  I finished these two in the last  couple nights, they have been hanging out on my Kindle for a little while.

Deadly Gamble was a very good read!  I loved the character of Charlie.  I liked the writing and the fact that she was the office person in a PI office who gets into investigating.  The crime seems out of today’s headlines, so very current.  The characters actions made sense, in other words she wasn’t going off half cocked and chasing around willy nilly.  The mystery was well plotted with some hints that I suspected what had happened but was glad to see it confirmed.  I would classify this as a cozy, so recommended for cozy readers.

A Dose of Death has a really interesting and different protagonist.  Helen was a governor’s wife and her identity seems to have been wrapped up in that “definition” of herself. Now she is divorced and has MS and is trying to find a new self.  Her family has very different ideas of what she should be doing with her life and is not very happy when the only passion that seems to catch hold is investigating the murder of a visiting nurse.

I loved that fact that this book in some ways championed the cause of the disabled still being in charge of their own lives.  I found it hard to read the family members attempts at steamrolling over her wishes, even though in the storyline it was constantly asserted they were doing it out of love.

I am interested to see how Helen’s character grows in future books and how the family dynamic changes.  The mystery was interesting and had red herrings to throw the reader off.  Very nicely done cozy!

 

 

Dream a Little Scream & Pastrami Murder

I have been super busy with the end of the school year and the Save Our Cozies Readathon.  So I have not had as much time to read as I would like.  I did finish these two and am just jotting quick reviews.  I really love the Dream Club Mystery series and enjoyed Dream a Little Scream a great deal.  A celebrity visits the candy store and meets her untimely end while there.  In fear of the damage to the store’s reputation the death has caused, Taylor and Ali investigate to find the real killer.  I already have the next book waiting to be read and I can’t wait.  Great cozy mystery read.

I picked up Pastrami Murder after reading some online reviews of later books in the series.   Very quick, cute mystery.  I liked the characters and the setting and the mystery was interesting.  I would have just liked it to be longer!

 

 

 

Eclair and Present Danger

27177390I have been seeing this book all over social media lately, on book blogs, twitter, and goodreads so I just had to pick it up.  It has such an interesting premise that I was instantly engaged.  The idea of an Emergency Dessert service delivered in a retro ambulance.  How cute is that?  The main characteer is losing her storefront bakery and inherits the ambulance at the same time. She decides to take her baked goods on the road, all the while investigating the murder of an an elderly friend and neighbor who had recently been widowed.  Plenty of red herrings pop up and then are discounted as Winnie investigates.  Cute quick mystery with an original premise!

Bun For Your Life by Karoline Barrett

25381504 I had this cozy on my Kindle.  Definitely an impulse buy as I hadn’t heard anything about it.  It is the first in a new series.  The protagaonist is Molly, she owns a bakery with her best friend.  She is divorced but still friendly with her ex.  She has a disagreement with another business owner who then ends up dead.  From there on out Molly finds herself in the the thick of the investigation.  There are hints of historical crime and bad blood between families.  Molly’s investigation really steps into high gear when the local police force is left as a skeleton crew due to an out of town training.  Will Molly’s Nancy Drew tendencies put her in the killer’s sights?

This was a fun, fast paced cozy with a light hint of romantic subplot.  Even though the theme was bakery related, it was not overdone.  I suspect the author realizes that there are many bakery themed cozies and so baking needed to be just a backdrop, not a major piece of the storyline and it worked really well.  I enjoyed it and would get another in the series.

 

Death of an English Muffin

23604319 I just finished this one last night.  I really like this series and I think this was the best one yet! It had the English Country Manor murder mystery feel to it, with still the bouts of humor typical of a cozy.  There is a not a very nice victim, a house full of guests, all or several of whom have motive, means, and opportunity.  A few nice red herrings to make for fun twists and turns.  There is also some movement on the romantic sub plot side of things and even on the overarching mystery of the family treasure 🙂  Don’t want to say more and give anything away.  This was a fast paced cozy with lots going on in.  I really enjoyed it.