Saturday, August 13, 2011
Ardith has more mystery authors with a garden twist.
Alice LeDuc was and still is Susan Wittig Albert's botanical proof reader. They both live in the same part of Texas.
New York media executive turned gardener Paula Holliday, owner of "Dirty Business" a garden design and container maintenance goes on an all expense paid trip with her friend, Julie, to the Titan Hotel in Connecticut's wine country in The Big Dirt Nap. (Didn't know Connecticut had one!) The feature of the hotel lobby is a Titan Arum(corpse flower) which has a very strong odor like rotting meat when it blooms. Unfortunately, the person who decided to make the Titan Arum the focal point of the lobby was not aware of its pungent odor when he had it installed. He thought it would be a great attraction because it was a Titan just like the hotel.
Soon after checking in, a corpse is found in the hotel dumpster, taking a Big Dirt Nap. The deceased has Paula's card in his possession plus he was seen talking to her. So the police are suspicious especially when her friend from her television production days does not show up.
The first book in this series Pushing Up Daisies has Paula restoring the garden of a historic property inherited by the local historic society by an eccentric spinister. Paula hopes this job will help get her fledgling business off the ground. Instead she digs up a mummified baby. The police have no interest in the case since it is an old secret. Paula begins to dig up the dirt kept buried by the town after someone is killed byone of her garden tools and one of her helpers is arrested for the murder.
Susan Wittig Albert
Everyone is familiar with Susan Wittig Albert's series about Herb Grower and Shop Proprietor,China Bayles. Now she has a new series involving a group of 1930s garden club ladies in Darling, Alabama. The book is The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree. These ladies, who always try to look on the bright side and see that things are done right in their town, are bequeathed a house to use as their clubhouse. Dahlia Blackstone, gives them a rundown house with an acre of garden and 1/2 acre vegetable garden, 2 cucumber trees and a ghost! The ladies name themselves the Darling Dahlias after their town and their benefactor and proceed to put their new home in order and solve the mystery of the ghost. It is a charming book that shows that resourcefulness of garden club ladies is not a new trait plus it reminds us that once before our country experienced severe economic problems.