The Garden Plot by Marty Wingate
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Pru Parke is nearing the end of the year she allotted herself to find a full-time gardening job that would allow her to remain in England. Pru is a transplant from Dallas, Texas, but her training and passion are for historical English gardens. So far, though, she's only managed to cobble together a series of part-time and temporary jobs, including the latest: turning the Wilsons' back yard from an eyesore into a showpiece. Unfortunately, before she has time to do much more than cut back all the ivy, she literally stumbles over the recently deceased body of the Wilsons' landlord and friend, Jeremy Pendergast.
Although the Detective Inspector seems like a decent...and attractive...gentleman, Pru can't bear the thought of her new friends being murder suspects and is quick to leap to their defense, which occasionally lands her in hot water with the police for interfering in their investigation. It also puts her own life in jeopardy on more than one occasion.
I received a free ebook copy from NetGalley, and I very much enjoyed reading it. I am looking forward to more installments in this new cozy mystery series. However, I hope that Ms. Wingate puts additional effort into character development and strengthening her plot lines in future books because it bothers me that so much of the storyline in The Garden Plot depends on Pru making foolish decisions and withholding information and evidence from the police, not to mention the unprofessional behavior of DCI Pearse as he begins dating a suspect in an ongoing murder investigation. Don't get me wrong--I liked the main characters, I just didn't think their choices always made sense.
My original rating was 4 stars. I stayed up too late finishing the book, since I didn't want to go to bed without knowing what happened. But then over the course of the next day, my rating fell as I started thinking about all the things that bugged me, like, for example, how Pru didn't put two & two together regarding the "mice" in her basement, and how she went to all the trouble to copy her photos onto her laptop and two flash drives and then didn't bother to give anyone the drives or to even really look at the photos herself. And why was Pru's one-year deadline so rigid? I agreed with her friend Jo that that made no sense.
For readers' advisors: story doorway. No sex, no real on-screen violence, and I don't recall any swearing.
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