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BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: A Potting Shed Mystery ~Marty Wingate

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Here we go again with a delightful story in Edinburgh, Scotland full of flowers and gardens, interesting characters and strange activities, and of course a great mystery surrounded by Pru and Christopher’s love story.  What could be better to pull you into a great read.   This is Marty Wingate’s third book in her English Garden series moving Pru, our Dallas, Texas Master Gardener, back to England to connect with her roots and explore the gardens of the UK.

I have reviewed the other two books in the potting shed mysteries and found them delightful and fun.   Also this spring, I reviewed a first book in a new series called THE RHYME OF THE MAGPIE a fun read with a good mystery; more of the UK revealed.

Pru has taken a research position in Edinburgh to authenticate a journal written by a famous botanist, explorer, and physician who travelled with Captain Vancouver on the Discovery.  There are several mysteries about plants and seeds that were collected.   Her position is stepping on the toes of the plant historian at the gardens, and this sets up a rather tense relationship.  When the historian is killed, Pru once again becomes a suspect.

Christopher is back in London as an Inspector for the Police and working in homicides.   Because the couple is planning to marry at the end of Pru’s posting they are connecting over the death of her co-worker and making wedding plans.

The wedding dress experience becomes quite funny and I could just see these creations by Fiona in my mind’s eye and they provided quite a chuckle.  Also walking through the town brought me back to my one-day experience of Edinburgh and seeing all the sights and the castle during the festival period.  This made the read even a better experience.

Wingate’s books are scenic and informative and have a lovely flow to the words.  They have an interesting story line and they follow through without leaving out the little details and the garden descriptions almost allowing the reader to breathe in the fragrance of the soil and the blooms.  I put her books on the delightful list and try to tell all my gardening friends to keep them reading during the indoor seasons.  I think many, many readers will enjoy these tales and I am very happy that Netgalley sent me an uncorrected proof to review.  BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.

From the book:

“In addition to the Potting shed Mysteries, Marty Wingate is also the author of The Rhyme of the Magpie, A Birds of a Feather Mystery.  A well-known speaker on gardens and travel, she has written numerous non-fiction books on gardening, including Landscaping for Privacy.  Marty’s garden articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including The American Gardener, and Country Gardens.  She is hard at work on her next novel.”

www.martywingate.com

Related:
Potting Shed Mysteries:
The Garden Plot 
The Red Book of Primrose House
The Birds of a Feather Mysteries:
The Rhyme of the Magpie

THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE: a Potting Shed Mystery ~Marty Wingate

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

“’And in landscape gardening,’ Repton wrote, ‘everything may be called a deception by which we endeavor to conceal the agency of art and make our works appear the sole product of nature.’”

Master Gardener Marty Wingate adds another mystery in the garden for Texas born Pru Parke to dig into and find the root of the problem.  I so enjoyed the first book in the series, THE GARDEN PLOT ,  I was delighted to be sent THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE by TLC Book Tours   for review.   I received an uncorrected, unproofed e- copy so that I could share my excitement during the holiday season with you.

Pru Parke has returned to England to find a master gardener position and restore an historic garden back to its intended splendor.  As luck would have it, Pru and a Police Detective discover a romantic connection and that makes her restoration job at Primrose House even more delightful an opportunity.  The house has already been restored as Hugh and Davina have purchased Primrose House from the Earl of Hamilton.  They are so happy to hire Pru to muster the gardens and are able to give her the hundreds of years old master plans (1806) from the original designer – Humphrey Repton.  His plans are in what is called The Red Book and they contain beautiful descriptions and watercolors of his original concepts and ideas.  Pru hides the valuable book in her cottage on the grounds.   Right away little, strange events begin to happen.

The descriptions of the gardens and the work of digging holes, finding hundreds of roses, repairing masonry walls, dozens of heritage apple trees and terracing the hillside draw an incredible image to the mind’s eye and one can nearly smell the earthy ground work and the greenhouse heaters.

Scary moments begin to happen as are an integral part of any mystery.  There are lights at night and strange noises and then the shed catches fire.  The local newspaper starts a blog about the garden restoration and repeatedly mentions in the post are being singled out for disruption.  The project is damaged and stopped several times and with a deadline fast approaching the pressure is on to discover the culprit.

There is a secondary mystery in THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE as Pru searches to discover if she has any relatives living in England after the death of her British born mum.

The eighteenth-century manor house in Sussex fascinated the gardener from Texas who is being severely tested along with her well – meaning  crew – Ned, Liam and Fergal Duffy, Ivy and Robbie and then all the police.  There are some good pub scenes and the secondary characters add some serious problems and that good British humor and whimsy. The language was fun and kept the pace of the story progressing, developing and moving the reader from cup of tea to cup of tea.

The book was incredibly entertaining and a fun read.  I enjoyed THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE from cover to cover.

From the book jacket:

“Marty Wingate writes about gardens and travel, and she has now combined those two loves with her passion of mysteries.  Mary’s how-to-garden information is available in books, online, and on the radio.  She lives in Seattle with her husband, who shares her love of travel and is always ready for on-the-ground research into pubs and English beer.  Learn more about her at marytwingate.com

Marty Wingate Facebook

Related:
The Garden Plot
Supreme Justice
Ryder
The Fixer Series