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.
Wreathing Havoc (A Garden Squad Mystery)
4th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (September 28, 2021)
Paperback : 352 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496733096
ISBN-13 : 978-1496733092
Kindle ASIN : B08RWZNGC1
There’s nothing like autumn in picturesque Goosebush, Massachusetts, but beneath the season’s sun-dappled foliage, Lilly Jayne and her Garden Squad must investigate a shadowy murder mystery after a theater owner’s sudden death sows as much drama behind the scenes as on any stage . . .
Lilly Jayne typically spends the harvest season baking festive pies and crafting colorful wreaths to enter in the library’s annual fundraising contest. But this year, autumn opens on a somber note when beloved local theater owner, Leon Tompkin, dies unexpectedly. His memorial sets the scene for a mini reunion of The Goosebush Players’ best and brightest alumni, including Hollywood star, Jeremy Nolan . . . until someone plucks Jeremy from the spotlight, permanently.
Now, as dedicated theater volunteer, Scooter McGee, falls under suspicion, Lilly and her Garden Squad must spring into action. They quickly discover a cornucopia of potential suspects in Jeremy’s murder. Was it an embittered ex . . . or a jilted lover? A rival thespian . . . or an overly ambitious artist? Lilly rakes through the piles of clues, but if she doesn’t uncover the real killer soon, more than autumn leaves will be dropping in Goosebush . . .
Local theater owner and dear friend of Lilly Jayne, Leon Tompkin, has passed away. He had been sick but his passing was quicker than imagined. A memorial at the theater brings together the alumni of The Goosebush Players, including Jeremy Nolan and Annabelle Keys who both went on to become Hollywood stars.
The theater had been planning several readings of A Christmas Carol and has decided to still do so only with Nolan and Keys taking part. But there will be no encore performance for Jeremy Nolan. He is killed at a reception following the event. Theater volunteer Scooter McGee becomes the police’s prime suspect but Lilly Jayne knows he didn’t do it. She gathers together The Garden Squad and they start to dig through the suspects and the clues. Will they be able to plant the killer behind bars? or will one of them be picked (off) by the killer when they get too close?
All my favorite characters are back busy solving mysteries and planning their Thanksgiving feasts. Lily Jayne is an amazing woman with a huge heart and pride in all things Goosebush that is unmatched although some come close. A new character joins the group. Minh Vann, the new librarian has the skills the Historical Society needs and she loves the research and making the information accessible. She is very enthusiastic and talkative but Delia is happy to have her on board and Roddy enjoys working with her. She is on a quest of her own that brings a new element to the series. I really enjoy how realistic all of Ms. Henry’s characters are and how they continue to grow and evolve.
There are a lot of things happening within these pages and Lilly Jayne seems to be involved in everything. Baking pies for the holidays, a wreath contest at the library, a garden sculpture contest at the park, some things in her gardens and greenhouse, and several coincidences that are uncovered while trying to solve the mysteries of the theater. The author blends it all together with such detail. Well-plotted and written the story flows perfectly making it very hard to put down. I had to force myself to do that when I looked up and saw it was 1 in the morning, then quickly picked it up after work the next day to finish.
The mystery takes several twists with a variety of suspects with probable motives. With Chief Sebastian “Bash” Haywood removed from the high-profile case he was able to work with Lilly Jayne and the squad. The future of the theater due to Leon’s death takes the story in an interesting direction and brings to light other deaths connected to the place. All the members of The Garden Squad have their strengths so solving the case was a real group effort but one clue really sets Lilly Jayne on the trail of the truth. I was totally captivated by each twist and turn so much so I had an inkling of what was going to happen but was still surprised as everything was spelled out and all was revealed.
The only thing I missed was that because of the time of year, there were no secret midnight garden emergencies rectified by The Garden Squad but they truly did have their hands full with other important things.
Wreathing Havoc is a wonderful addition to the Garden Squad Mystery series. This series really focuses on friendships that get stronger with each book and each case solved. The core characters are so appealing making it very easy to get involved in their lives. A complex mystery that tests me is another thing that draws me in and the one in this book certainly did that. Another Perfect Escape from Julia Henry. I highly recommend this book and series to all cozy readers, especially those with a green thumb.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
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.”