Organic gardening is hazardous to a public-relations executive’s health.
Lucille Anderson likes being in the United Kingdom. For one thing, it puts her closer to her lover/client Braxton Clark. For another, it gives her the opportunity to discover lots of bodies—which is good for Lucy, who hopes to launch a second career as a mystery writer. So when her New York–based advertising/public-relations/marketing firm MWVB sends her to London to launch a campaign for Brack’s frozen-produce line, Allgood Organics, Lucy’s as happy as a pig in natural fertilizer. To learn more about the science of organic growing, she tours Sir Alonzo Montague Taylor-Scott’s famed gardens, where, right on cue, she finds Monty’s strangled corpse perched in a trellis. As a bonus, Brack’s sister Caroline Linewold takes her on a midnight snooping trip into Monty’s greenhouse and a trash bag containing another corpse—a young woman who happens to have Lucy’s phone number in her pocket. These discoveries rouse the curiosity of journalist/nudnik Richard Meek and distracting immigration agent Patrick Bourne, who’s on the trail of the Marigold Mafia, a Cornwall-based eco-terrorist group that may be after a cache of seeds given to Monty by an African tribe. Brack warns her not to investigate, but what’s an aspiring mystery writer to do when confronted with a juicy puzzle? Soon Lucy’s in enough hot water to make chamomile tea for all of Marylebone.
Bastion (No Just Desserts, 2004) supplies strained similes and precious/annoying dialogue in lieu of adequate plotting.