(disclaimer: I received an e-copy of Lethal Lily from the author, publisher and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was offered, requested or received.)
Part-time garden shop owner/part-time forensic botanist, Peggy Lee is trying to discover if the death of Ann Fletcher 20 years ago was an accident – or foul play. In return, she hopes to receive more information about her first husband’s death. She knows John Lee was murdered, but questions have arisen as to why he was killed. She is working with a private detective who stumbles across his own feet, but her Internet friend, Nightflyer, says that Harry Fletcher has the answers. When Harry is murdered by convallatoxin, from the lily of the valley plant, Peggy begins to understand her role in everything. Now she has to stay alive long enough to prove her theories – and keep her son, Paul out of trouble too!
This was my first experience with the writing of Joyce and Jim Lavene. It will not be my last. "Lethal Lily" is the latest addition to the "Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries", one of several series of books by the same author team.
I must confess, the first thing that struck me (and that I loved) about Lethal Lily was that the main character, Peggy Lee, or Margaret Hughes Lee to the authorities, is a woman 'of a certain age'. So many stories these days have teen or 20- or 30-something heroines. A woman's life does not end at 30 or 40, or 50 ... and neither has Peggy's, even though ten years previous to the start of "Lethal Lily", Peggy's first husband, John, was killed in the line of duty.
Peggy is part-owner of a garden shop, who also does forensic botany - which is the science of how plant materials can be used to help solve crime. Even though she has worked with the ME's office on multiple occasions, so much so that she has her own desk in the office; yet certain of the establishment still see her as a meddling woman. "Lethal Lily" handles this (what is for me a) 'thorny' issue in an entertaining manner.
I might even term this a cozy thriller. It has several of the elements of a cozy mystery, but with a decidedly darker feel - at least for me. But that made it even more intriguing - like exploring uncharted territory. There is a Rafflecopter giveaway for a book bag with print copies of both "Lethal Lily" and "Thyme to Die", accessible through the Great Escapes website (use the tour button at the top).
About the Authors
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.