Publisher: Alibi (November 4, 2014)
Sold by: Random House LLC
In Marty Wingate’s charming new Potting Shed Mystery, Texas transplant Pru Parke’s restoration of a historic landscape in England is uprooted by an ax murderer.
Pru Parke has her dream job: head gardener at an eighteenth-century manor house in Sussex. The landscape for Primrose House was laid out in 1806 by renowned designer Humphry Repton in one of his meticulously illustrated Red Books, and the new owners want Pru to restore the estate to its former glory—quickly, as they’re planning to showcase it in less than a year at a summer party.
But life gets in the way of the best laid plans: When not being happily distracted by the romantic attentions of the handsome Inspector Christopher Pearse, Pru is digging into the mystery of her own British roots. Still, she manages to make considerable progress on the vast grounds—until vandals wreak havoc on each of her projects. Then, to her horror, one of her workers is found murdered among the yews. The police have a suspect, but Pru is certain they’re wrong. Once again, Pru finds herself entangled in a thicket of evil intentions—and her, without a hatchet.
Buy, read, and discuss The Red Book of Primrose House
Marty Wingate is the author of The Garden Plot and a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Potting Shed mysteries are planned.
Marty Wingate’s first Potting Shed Mystery, Garden Plot fell into my life last spring, just when I needed it, and I absolutely loved it, so when I was offered the chance to review the sequel, I jumped at it.
I’m glad I did.
The Red Book of Primrose House picks up a few months after the end of the first novel. Pru Parke is still dating Christopher, and has taken up her post as head gardener of Primrose House. I love that their relationship has grown, and that Pru’s job has also been developed.
Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing. Navigating a relationship is never easy, but Pru and Christoper live many miles apart, and must balance work and distance, with the need to actually spend time together, and author Wingate handles it with humor and grace, and just enough romance to keep things moving.
As well, there’s a mystery to be solved: Ned, a village institution in his own right, is brutally murdered (as if murder is never NOT brutal) and Pru can’t help but investigate, especially since she seems to be a target. This plot, the A-plot, is also handled with grace. Author Wingate spins a good story, and keeps us just enough unsure of the perpetrator that when they are finally revealed we are not disappointed that were right, but relieved we weren’t wrong.
Of course I loved every word Marty Wingate wrote, and even wanted to be holed up in Pru’s tiny cottage with my own Christopher (my husband’s actual name, I swear) building a fire, but what I find really compelling about these novels is that all of the elements – gardening, history, romance, mystery – are perfectly blended with each other to form a coherent whole that is both entertaining and thoroughly engaging.
I really hope there are more Potting Shed mysteries in the future, because Marty Wingate has, in me, a fan for life.
Goes well with Buttery roast chicken, spring vegetables, fresh strawberry shortcake, and a nice white wine, followed by cups of hot tea.
Marty Wingate’s TLC Book Tour
This review is part of a virtual book tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. For the complete list of tour stops see the list below. For more information, click HERE.
Monday, November 3rd: Bibliotica
Tuesday, November 4th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, November 5th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, November 6th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, November 6th: Luxury Reading
Friday, November 7th: 5 Minutes for Books
Monday, November 10th: Reading Reality
Monday, November 10th: Omnimystery News – guest post
Tuesday, November 11th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, November 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, November 13th: Under a Gray Sky
Friday, November 14th: Back Porchervations
Monday, November 17th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Tuesday, November 18th: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, November 19th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, November 20th: Open Book Society
Friday, November 21st: 2 Kids and Tired Books
Monday, November 24th: A Book Geek
Tuesday, November 25th: Brooke Blogs