Review: The Garden Plot, by Marty Wingate – with Giveaway

About the book, The Garden Plot

The Garden Plot

Publisher: Alibi (May 6, 2014)
Sold by: Random House LLC

In an entirely appealing mystery debut, Marty Wingate introduces readers to a curious Texas ex-pat whose English gardening expertise on occasion leads her to unearth murderous goings-on.

Pru Parke always dreamed of living in England. And after the Dallas native follows an impulse and moves to London, she can’t imagine ever leaving—though she has yet to find a plum position as a head gardener. Now, as the sublet on her flat nears its end, the threat of forced departure looms. Determined to stay in her beloved adopted country, Pru takes small, private gardening jobs throughout the city.

On one such gig in Chelsea, she makes an extraordinary find. Digging in the soil of a potting shed, Pru uncovers an ancient Roman mosaic. But enthusiasm over her discovery is soon dampened when, two days later, she finds in the same spot a man’s bludgeoned corpse. As the London police swarm her worksite, ever inquisitive Pru can’t quite manage to distance herself from the investigation—much to the dismay of stern Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse. It seems that, much as he tries, even handsome DCI Pearse can’t keep Pru safe from a brutal killer who thinks she’s already dug up too much.

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About the author, Marty Wingate

Marty Wingate is a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. The Garden Plot is her first novel. More Potting Shed mysteries are planned.


My Thoughts

There are books that fall into your life at exactly the right moment. For me The Garden Plot was one of them. It was a murky weekend, I was sick in bed, and I needed something light enough that I could focus on, but with enough substance to keep me interested. This novel delivered that in spades – spades of rich, loamy, literary soil.

First, I loved that the main character, ex-pat Texan Pru was not some twenty-something girl with no life experience. I also liked that she was independent, often to her detriment, but that she also knew her stuff, with regard to her chosen field. I’m not single, but I still have moments when running away to live in another country is incredibly tempting, and I really identified with her.

The supporting characters are also amazing. DCI Christopher Pearse could have been a by-the-book detective, but morphed into a well-rounded character and love interest in a way that felt completely organic. Similarly, Pru’s friends and clients were all three-dimensional.

But for all it’s romantic elements The Garden Plot is also a mystery, and I found the plot to be well-crafted and compelling. While it’s possible my semi-drugged state made me less able to predict the outcome, I prefer to believe it was author Wingate’s talent for storytelling, because this novel has all of the traditional English cozy mystery elements – a fish-out-of-water protagonist, upper-class locals with secrets and hidden connections, and a dashing detective, and instead of feeling at all trite, The Garden Plot feels fresh – as fresh as the first sprouts of new plantings after a spring rain.

Goes well with Hot tea, cucumber sandwiches, and scones still warm from the oven.


Enter to Win

This tour includes a Rafflecopter giveaway for a Grand Prize of a $30 egiftcard to the ebook retailer of the winner’s choice, and a First Prize Mystery Prize Pack of three mystery mass market paperbacks and a gardening title from Random House!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. For more information and the complete list of tour stops, click here.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Review: The Garden Plot, by Marty Wingate – with Giveaway by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “Review: The Garden Plot, by Marty Wingate – with Giveaway

  1. Pingback: Marty Wingate, author of The Garden Plot, on tour May 2014 | TLC Book Tours

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