Pub Date: Aug 4 2015
Price: $2.99 e-book
For those of you that have not started reading this series, book #1 The Garden Plot: Potting Shed Mystery Series is the beginning of the upset of Pru (Prudence) Parker’s life. Pru, a 50-something master horticulturist, quits her job in Texas and moves to London in hopes of finding a job and staying in England for the future, but while at one her small gardening jobs she finds a body, beginning her trail of misfortune when it comes to corpse finding (think Murder She Wrote). The prior book, The Redbook of Primrose House: Potting Shed Mystery Series #2, left the reader with knowledge that Pru and Christopher were off for a long vacation, just the two of them. That’s where this installment begins.
Like the prior two books, it revolves around true historical horticultural information and provides good detail on real places found in a small corner of Edinburgh where this book takes place. Pru has been hired by the Royal Botanical Gardens located in Edinburgh, Scotland for a short assignment to verify a journal of Archibald Menzies, an eighteenth-century plant explorer.
Readers following this series will have a nice two-fold surprise. One pertains to our main characters and the other with Ms. Wingate’s writing. Since I don’t believe in giving a book-report or full synopsis, I’m not giving you the run down of what happens in this book, read this book for the nice surprise. As for Ms. Wingate’s surprise, her story-telling has become even better (it was great to begin with!) with this third installment. The pace of the book is good, moving the reader along quickly; the main and supporting characters have more depth, and this time I was about half-way through before I figured out who the killer was (a blessed relief as the two prior books it was much sooner than this).
A reader will be delighted with the continued quirkiness of the main character Pru, but in this installment she seems to have grown up a bit since the first two books. What I mean by this is, she’s more sure of herself in her work life and personal life. The decisions she makes regarding sleuthing are more thought out before the deed is done. I’m not sure if this is because of her newly gained prior experience, the fact that she’s been in a relationship with a Detective Chief Inspector or if this is because her life in general is more stable, thereby grounding her.
Readers will also be delighted that DCI Christopher Pearce has a larger role in this book. His character, compared to book#2, is more of what I expect a DCI to act like when it comes to his police work and as a love interest for Pru, reminiscent of book #1 (yeah!). He’s funny, witty and charming; protective, incitful and an all round good supporting character to Pru. Yes, I have a book crush on him again, as book #2 left me irritated with his character. The remaining supporting characters were well-rounded and a delight. We get to meet Marcus, Pru’s x-boyfriend and former boss (see book #1). We learn more about Jo, big suprise for the readers. New characters include Inspector Blakie, who with Christopher’s help allows Pru’s inquisitiveness. Saskia, Pru’s part-time assistant. Mrs. Murchie, the helpful neighbor who provides some of the background relating to the area and Royal Botanical Gardens Pru is working for. Murdo, who might have you baffled just a tad, but if you read closly you’ll understand the purpose to his character quickly. One more I have to bring up is Madam Fiona- loved this character. She’s a funky, free-flowing, idea inspired dress maker who, I think, could easily have her own book series, mystery or romance.
I read through BARAAHP partly because the pacing flowed well and partly because I just had to know what the characters were going to do next, main and supporting. Ms. Wingate did an excellent job writing this new installment. Readers will find her e-books at a great price point of $2.99. You don’t have to read the first two books to understand what happened, as the details are quickly given throughout this book, but if you haven’t read the first two, pick them up and add this one to the list too.