Friday, May 20, 2016

Texas Comes to the Chelsea Flower Show

Pru Parke is happy with her life at Greenoak helping her brother Simon restore the gardens and enjoying the closeness with her husband Christopher. However, when a friend from Austin, Texas calls and asks for help getting ready for the Chelsea Flower Show, she finds it hard to resist. Christopher is supportive and so they're off to London where Pru will help the Austin gardeners get oriented and ready to develop their garden.

Things don't work out quite as advertised. The Austin Garden Club arrives minus the president, Twyla, who was supposed to take the lead from Pru. Without Twyla, Pru finds herself taking on more and more responsibility for the garden. With the rain and cold, building the garden without enough help is becoming a chore. However, when Twyla arrives things get worse. Pru meets her briefly on the evening she arrives. The next morning they find her body in a trench on the garden site covered with rocks. From that one meeting, Pru feels a kinship with the other woman. Now she wants to find the killer and make sure Twyla realizess her dream of a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

This is a leisurely cozy mystery. The pace matches the pace of gardeners putting together their displays. As usual the gardening details are realistic, including the rain and mud in the spring in England. The Austin details are also accurate. If you're a Texan, or love Texas, you'll find this delightful.

Pru is a character you want to like. She's talented and responsible and wants to help other people realize their dreams. I was pleased to see more of Christopher doing detective work in this novel. He's almost too good to be true. He loves Pru and tries to protect her, although this isn't always an easy job.

I enjoyed the book although the mud and rain of the early chapters were depressing. I also felt that the inability of the Texas women to get down to work was rather unrealistic. Maybe it was Twyla's dream, not theirs, but still they seemed to do too much time away from the garden prep leaving it to Pru
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I received this book from Net Galley for this review.