Thursday, October 12, 2017

ARC Review: Best-Laid Plants by Marty Wingate

Best-Laid Plants
Author: Marty Wingate
Series: Potting Shed Mysteries (Book 6)
Publication: Alibi (October 17, 2017)

Description: A trip to the English countryside turns into a brush with death for Pru Parke, the only gardener whose holiday wouldn’t be complete without a murder to solve.

Pru and her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, are long overdue for a getaway. So when Pru is invited to redesign an Arts and Crafts garden in the picturesque Cotswolds, she and Christopher jump at the chance.

Unfortunately, their B&B is more ramshackle than charming, and the once thriving garden, with its lovely Thyme Walk, has fallen into heartbreaking neglect. With the garden’s owner and designer, Batsford Bede, under the weather, Pru tackles the renovation alone. But just as she’s starting to make headway, she stumbles upon Batsford’s body in the garden—dead and pinned beneath one of his limestone statues.

With such a small police force in the area, Christopher is called upon to lead the investigation. Pru can’t imagine anyone murdering Batsford Bede, a gentle man who preferred to spend his time in quiet contemplation, surrounded by nature. But as her work on the garden turns up one ominous clue after another, Pru discovers that the scenery is more dangerous than she or Christopher could have anticipated.

My Thoughts: Pru is hired to assess an Arts and Crafts garden in the Cotswolds and jumps at the chance. She thinks it would be a great vacation for her and her husband Christopher. She isn't there long before the builder of the garden, Batsford Bede, is found dead in his garden and Christopher is drafted to solve the crime.

There are all sorts of suspects including the daughter of his long-time love and a life coach who has been helping him and who had a previous relationship with Christopher after his divorce and before he met and married Pru. Or is it the young woman who wants to start her own farm by leasing some of Batty's land or maybe the man-of-all work who is helping her start her farm?

Pru and Christopher are staying in a ramshackle bed and breakfast run by an elderly widow whose husband did some odd electrical work in the house. The shabby interior, eccentric hallways, and low ceilings add some interesting atmosphere to the story.

The first thing Pru receives when she arrives are the garden journals that Bede wrote which are filled with the plants he and his love Constance chose and some personal insights about their lives too. Each chapter begins with a quotation from Batty's journal. Even though my knowledge of plants is pretty much limited to recognizing dandelions and roses, I enjoyed both the journal entries and Pru's descriptions of the gardens.

I did figure out who the murderer was about two-thirds into the story which made me feel quite accomplished. It was a suspenseful story with lots of great characters. 

Favorite Quote:
"He had a plant in his hand -- it looked as if he'd pulled it up," Christopher said. "You saw that?"

Pru nodded, remembering the stems, leaves, and few faded flowers crushed in Mr. Bede's hand. "It was betony. It's a good perennial, a native -- produces flowers through summer and into autumn. It's also been used as a medicinal herb -- a sort of panacea, you know, said to fix anything. I wonder if that's what he thought. I believe he wrote about betony, but I don't remember that he mentioned it as a medicine, only as an ornamental."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had fun with it and 2/3 of the way through isn't a bad time for figuring things out. Thanks for the share!


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