Monday, October 23, 2017

Best Laid Plants by Marty Wingate - #review #giveaway

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.

Marty Wingate’s captivating mysteries can be enjoyed together or separately, in any order:

The Potting Shed series:



I've been reading about Pru since she started in her adopted homeland of England.  In The Garden Plot, the first book in the "Potting Shed" series, she and the police investigator Christopher are often at loggerheads, as cozy heroines and their local constabularies are.  Now they are married, and trying to get away from it all for a holiday (vacation for us here in the US).

They go so far into the countryside that the authorities (read police) are spread really, really thinly.  So thin that some villages may have to share a constable.  (I can joke about this because the closest police 'force' to us has one official vehicle.)  So, when Batsford Bede, owner of the garden Pru is hired to restore is found dead, Christopher is kind of pulled into the investigation in a supervisory capacity.  This doesn't bother Pru as much as you might think, because you know she's going to be as hip deep in the mystery as she is in the garden.

There are several suspects (probably overly many considering the size of the locality), and the concerns seem to center around what happens to the estate land after Bede's death.  A woman who has been allowed to graze cattle on part of the land wonders if that will continue.  Bede's recently reconciled daughter learns that the land might go to a recent female companion of her late father's, and a developer is absolutely itching to get his greedy little paws on the property.  There is also more than one will, several done in the last few months of Batsford's life, with the legacy falling to several different people, which adds to the confusion.

I like how Ms. Wingate switcheroo'd a couple of characters.  By that I mean that one or more people who were thought to be antagonistic were not so much as first appeared.  And the scene where Pru first takes the field as a shortcut (and her subsequent stand-off with the bull) is not to be missed.

Best-Laid Plants is a wonderful addition to the Potting Shed Mysteries 'garden'  I had a sense, when I first received a copy of "The Garden Plot" a couple of years beck, that I held something special in my hands.  That feeling continues strong with Best-Laid Plants.



Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who shares her love of Britain in her two mystery series. The Potting Shed books feature Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener transplanted from Texas to England, and Birds of a Feather follows Julia Lanchester, bird lover, who runs a tourist office in a Suffolk village. Marty writes garden articles for magazines including Country Gardens and theAmerican Gardener. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Crime Writers Association. She leads garden tours to England, Scotland and Ireland, spending free moments deep in research for her books. Or in pubs.


Click on the banner above to go to the tour page, where you will find links to more reviews of Best-Laid Plants by Marty Wingate, as well as a guest post by the author.  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours while you are there!

(Disclosure:  I reeived a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book tours and NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.)

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