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.
The Plot Thickets (A Garden Squad Mystery)
5th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington Cozies (October 25, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback : 368 pages
ISBN-10 : 149673310X
ISBN-13 : 978-1496733108
Kindle ASIN : B09RG6S4DY
Springtime—and another murder case—comes to Goosebush, Massachusetts, in Julia Henry’s latest installment in the Garden Squad Mystery cozy series featuring sixty-something gardener Lilly Jayne!
With spring’s arrival in Goosebush, Lilly and the Beautification Committee turn their eyes to new projects. A cleanup of the historic Goosebush Cemetery may be in order after Lilly and Delia find the plots there sorely neglected and inexplicably rearranged. Lilly soon discovers that Whitney Dunne-Bradford snapped up custodianship of the graveyard once she inherited Bradford Funeral Homes. But before Lilly can get to the bottom of the tombstone tampering, she stumbles upon Whitney’s body at the Jayne family mausoleum . . .
Though at first, it appears Whitney died by suicide, Lilly has doubts, and apparently, so does Chief of Police Bash Haywood, who quickly opens a murder investigation. Plenty of folks in town had bones to pick with Whitney, including her stepdaughter, Sasha, and funeral home employee, Dewey Marsh—all three recently charged with illegal business practices. But when the homicide inquiry suddenly targets an old friend, Lilly, and the Garden Squad must rally to exhume the truth before the real killer buries it forever . . .
We are back in Goosebush, Massachusetts, as the Beautification Committee is planning its Springtime projects. Lilly and Delia find things neglected at the historic Goosebush Cemetery. They also notice irregularities with many of the plots and that a bench has been moved by the Jayne family mausoleum. With a little research, Lilly finds out that Whitney Dunne-Bradford had taken over the custodianship of the cemetery when she inherited the Bradford Funeral Homes. Lilly is anxious to talk to Whitney about her concerns but before they can meet, Lilly trips over Whitney’s body at the family crypt.
Even though it appears Whitney has taken her own life both Lily and Chief of Police Bash Haywood believe she was murdered. There has been trouble with the family’s funeral business and things have been tense between Whitney, her stepdaughter Sasha, and employee Dewey March but would it drive one of them to murder? Sadly, a friend is also on the suspect list so Lily and the Garden Squad shift into high gear to prove their friend’s innocence. They immediately start digging up the truth and plotting a path toward the real guilty party before the killer gets away scot-free and their friend ends up in jail.
The characters in this series are so much fun. Lilly Jayne continues to pull her garden squad together to do gardening projects and investigate murders. In this installment, the Squad is worried about their friend Stan, who lost his father suddenly and is a suspect in Whitney Dunne-Bradford’s death. He has been acting strange for weeks and has shut his girlfriend Delia out completely. His friends all care about him and will do anything they can to help. The friendships that have been built over the course of this series are very strong and continue to grow in this story. One relationship is starting to move beyond just friendship and I enjoyed the way the author has penned this blooming romance.
Lilly and her friends are very active in the community and their pride unique small town shines every time they take a walk around the wheel at the center of Goosebush to shop, dine, or run errands. They have been working hard on renovating a park, making sure it meets as many of the town’s needs as possible. Ms. Henry’s detailed descriptions of the town, the park, the shops, the Star, Lilly’s home and gardens along with the homes and yards and views of her friends paint such great visuals. It is so easy to imagine yourself walking around town to each and every place right along with its residents. I was very intrigued by the historic cemetery. We have a similar cemetery in my hometown, but without all the shenanigans.
Ms. Henry plotted out a very interesting mystery with twists, turns, and curious entanglements. I always have a great time following all the clues with the Garden Squad. They all come up with their own theories and work to see what pans out. Delia really has the head for research and never fails to find pertinent information to move the investigation forward. They do keep Chief of Police Bash Haywood apprised of their findings for the most part. He knows he can trust their information. I had a theory of my own that had some of the right elements but they didn’t all come together until everything was spelled out in the story.
The Plot Thickets was a very entertaining read. These characters never fail to draw me into their lives and keep me captivated until the mysteries are all solved at the end. Sadly, this book was released in October 2022 and appears to be the final book in the series. I will have to use my imagination to finish out the characters’ stories but I know in my heart that Ms. Henry would want them to live happily ever and enjoying their beautiful gardens.
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About the Author
Julia Henry is thrilled to be writing the Garden Squad series for Kensington. The Garden Squad consists of four friends–Lilly, Delia, Tamara, and Ernie–who are clandestine gardeners in their town of Goosebush, MA, solving gardening problems that the red tape of the town is tying up. They also solve mysteries that pop up.
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.”