Saturday, August 1, 2015

ARC Review: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Marty Wingate

Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Author: Marty Wingate
Series: Potting Shed Mystery (Book 3)
Publication: Alibi (August 4, 2015)

Description: After her romantic idyll with the debonair Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse culminates in a marriage proposal, Pru Parke sets about arranging their nuptials while diving into a short-term gig at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. At hand is the authentication of a journal purportedly penned by eighteenth-century botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies. Compared to the chaos of wedding planning, studying the journal is an agreeable task . . . that is, until a search for a missing cat leads to the discovery of a dead body: One of Pru’s colleagues has been conked on the head with a rock and dumped from a bridge into the Water of Leith.

Pru can’t help wondering if the murder has something to do with the Menzies diary. Is the killer covering up a forgery? Among the police’s many suspects are a fallen aristocrat turned furniture maker, Pru’s overly solicitous assistant, even Pru herself. Now, in the midst of sheer torture by the likes of flamboyant wedding dress designers and eccentric church organists, Pru must also uncover the work of a sly murderer—unless this bride wants to walk down the aisle in handcuffs.

My Thoughts: What a busy time for Pru Parke. She has just accepted the proposal of Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse and is planning a wedding. She has also taken a short term job at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh while Christopher remains in London. Pru's job is to authenticate a journal supposedly written by botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies. She is fascinated and has visions of writing a definitive article about the journal and about Menzies. She isn't expecting a boss who seems to be hiding from her, a rival who can't understand how she got the job, and a gardener who doesn't seem to know much about gardening but who shows up everywhere Pru goes.

When the rival is found dead in suspicious circumstances, Pru is a suspect and has to begin investigating a number of suspicious people to clear her name. Of course, she is also planning a wedding and it seems that everyone she interviews also has something to contribute to her wedding plans. Besides the tension of finding out who the murderer was, we have some funny moments regarding the wedding plans. From the fashion designer who is supposed to be creating her wedding gown to the Scottish equivalent of getting married in Vegas by Elvis to the police detective who is planning her own wedding, Pru has her hands full.

This was an excellent cozy mystery with wonderful, engaging characters. I like that Pru and Christopher are older. It was realistic to see them making compromises for their new relationship but it was also nice seeing that they were set enough in their lives that they had more financial freedom to make those choices.

Fans of cozy mysteries and gardening will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
"Little Bo Peep!" she shouted into the phone as she paced back and forth across her tiny kitchen, hot tears of humiliation streaming down her cheeks. "I looked like Little Bo Peep—all that was missing was a bonnet and a flock of sheep."
I got this one for review from the publisher via NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


  1. I've read and really enjoyed the first in the series but while I have this one and the 2nd for some reason I haven't read them yet. This one looks fun and I'm looking forward to seeing what exactly is the Scottish equivalent of Vegas (I have a guess)!


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