I just finished my fellow Master Gardener and landscape mystery writing author’s first book, Pushing Up Daisies. Rosemary Harris has delivered a delightful story with a solid lead character who knows her way around a Connecticut garden.
One of the things that frustrated me with the Three Dirty Women series was the fact that the publisher wanted to have the setting for the books be located somewhere I don’t actually live. This hampered my ability to get enough gardening into the books to satisfy myself. I was grateful to gardeners in the Carolinas for answering any questions, and I did get a trip in to do some on-site research. (No fun was had of course, as it was a business trip!) As the series goes on, I fit more and more information in, but I liked the way Rosemary was able to make the gardening such a huge part of her story right from the get-go. If I were ever to go back to garden mystery writing, I would set the books on the Gulf Coast so that I could more easily weave in more plant lore.
One of the reasons I read gardening mysteries is to learn. Fellow Texan Susan Wittig Albert was the first such author I read, and I fell in love with her China Bayles series. Ann Ripley is a fine example of this section of the mystery gendre. Mary Freeman is another. Naomi Hirohara is a particular favorite of mine, with her gentle, complex weaving of tales about Mas Arai.
So while it’s winter outside, grab yourself a good read about your garden, be it one of mine, or one of these other fine writers, and dream.