On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Tilling the Truth (A Garden Squad Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington Cozies (August 27, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496714830
ISBN-13 : 978-1496714831
Kindle ASIN : B07L2FZRSS
It’s August in Goosebush, Massachusetts, and go-getter retiree Lilly Jayne and her youthful senior pals show no sign of slowing down during the lazy days of summer. But when murder mows over a pesky local, could a Garden Squad member be nurturing a deadly second act?
While Lilly digs into a town beautification project, her friend Tamara O’Connor has greater concerns than well-pruned geraniums. The real-estate firm owner hasn’t been shy about blaming perennial grouch Gladys Preston for thwarting her many attempts to sell off a beautiful beachside property. But accusations fly when Gladys is suddenly found dead—and Tamara is caught standing over the body with a bloody weapon in her hand . . .
As Tamara becomes the prime murder suspect, Lilly and the Garden Squad ladies set out to prove that someone planted the evidence. With a potpourri of alarming clues scattered around Goosebush, cracking this case means confronting a calculating culprit with a penchant for cutting down anyone who gets in the way . . .
The Garden Squad has been doing good works all over Goosebush, Massachusetts. They are also helping with Recycling Day, a fundraiser for the high school sports teams. Folks donate gently used home goods and furniture that the students clean, fix, and refurbish as part of their shop classes. The items are then sold in a huge rummage sale later in the year. Lily has also been named executor of a long-time friend’s estate which means dealing with his family and making sure his wishes are carried out. The town beautification committee is also having meetings to vote and coordinate upcoming projects.
Squad members and volunteers start to arrive at the dump for Recycling Day. Board member and Lily’s best friend Tamara O’Connor must already be there because the gate is unlocked. Lily, Delia, and Warwick arrive and hear a bloodcurdling scream. They take off running to find Tamara standing over the body of Gladys Preston. A cantankerous woman who has been a thorn in Tamara’s side.
Past experiences and being the one to find the body plants Tamara firmly at the top of the suspect list. This puts Lilly Jayne and the Garden Squad on high alert. Digging up clues and hunting down suspects all in trying to prove Tamara is innocent before the killer strikes again.
I really enjoyed meeting Ms. Henry’s characters in Pruning the Dead and couldn’t wait to visit them again. In Tilling the Truth we get to know them better and meet some new characters as well. Harmon Dane, sadly deceased when the book began appears to have been a man with a huge heart and a love of birds. In his will, he took care of his family in different ways but a bird sanctuary near his home was the prime beneficiary. Cousins Miranda and Braden Dane were not happy with their uncle’s will and are hoping Lilly will see it their needs must be met instead of giving the money to the birds. We also meet Regan Holland, a new realtor in town doing her best to put Tamara out of business. Contactor Lenny Andrus has decided to move his renovation business toward more new construction with some very creative financing. And we meet Gladys Preston who owned a house near Harmon, was not happy about the bird sanctuary, and according to Lily, “one of the most miserable people in Goosebush” who “looked at life through a prism of gloom”. She is also the victim of this mystery. I have to say this author crafts her characters so well. I love that most of them are close to my age or older and still living vibrant lives. Maybe that is why I like them so much.
The mystery included a large garden of suspects for the Garden Squad to weed through. Clues were dropped at a perfect pace and I enjoyed the well-placed twists and turns. There were really a lot of things happening in this story and Ms. Henry did an excellent job of entangling it all together to make a very entertaining read. The way the ending was set up was sooooo gooood! I was delighted by the way everything played out.
I am late to the party for this series and I am sorry for that. That being said I am enjoying every minute of it. Tilling the Truth checks every cozy box, an interesting small town, diverse and engaging characters, and mysteries that really keep those pages flipping. I can’t wait to read book 3, Digging Up The Remains.
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About the Author
Julia Henry works in the arts, teaches, and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She currently writes as Julianne Holmes and J.A. Hennrikus. A blogger for the Wicked Cozy Authors and Killer Characters, she enjoys writing cozy mysteries. For more information, visit jhauthors.com.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”