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.

 

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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!