Author: Marty Wingate
Rating: 4.5 stars
Type: Mystery Novel in Series
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: Texas transplant Pru Parke has put down roots in England, but she never dreamed she’d live in a grand place such as Greenoak. When her former employers offer Pru and her new husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, the use of their nineteenth-century estate while they’re away for a year, she jumps at the chance. Sweetening the deal is the prospect of further bonding with her long-lost brother, Simon, who happens to be Greenoak’s head gardener. But the majestic manor has at least one skeleton in its closet—or, rather, its garden.
Working on renovations to the extensive grounds, siblings Pru and Simon squabble about everything from boxwood to bay hedges. But when the removal of a half-dead tree turns up the wreckage of a World War II–era German fighter plane and a pile of bones, the arguments stop. That is, until a rival from Simon’s past pays a surprise visit and creates even more upheaval. It’s suddenly clear someone is unhappy their secrets have been unearthed. Still, Pru’s not about to sit back and let Simon take the fall for the dirty deed without a fight.
Review: Having read the other series that this author writes, I was prepared to dig into this sumptuous feast of a book–and I was not disappointed. Serving up selections of my favorite things–food and gardening–along with a mysterious murder mired in the gloom of World War II, the plot was driven with care and meticulous pacing. The bittersweet ending closed the circle on the prologue and the doubts in one particular character’s mind–well done! It makes me wish even more that I’d taken the time to check out the author’s other series earlier!
Pru is an inveterate sleuth whose ire is raised this time when it seems as if her brother Simon is being framed for the death. Putting their differences aside, she knows he is no killer and is determined to find out who is. Luckily this time Christopher, her police detective husband, allows it–in fact, even encourages it at a certain point in the book. Christopher had stepped down from his position in London so that he and Pru could retire in the country, but as the case evolves more and more, those in the area are calling for him to quit his position assisting the local constabulary and take over for the very inexperienced Martin, who seems to be purposely bungling the case.
This book is driven by very real feelings and motivations as well as unearthing interesting history from the past that appeared more and more relevant in the present–at least enough for someone’s life to end. I enjoyed learning about the characters and cheered when Pru was able to gain a friendship she really wanted that had seemed very iffy. Plus, I feel liked I learned things as well. Great character-driven read that was thought-provoking and beautifully done–plus, I’m so envious of her getting to stay in Greenoaks! Thanks!