Finding corpses turns out to be easier than sighting the rare Cypripedium incognitum.
Landscaper Julian Wood and interior designer Mara Dunn are having trouble accommodating one another. Both middle-aged and independent, they find love delightful but living together difficult, particularly when Julian’s annual quest for the rare Lady’s Slipper orchid leaves Mara feeling slighted. She’s even more distraught when he agrees to search for Kazim, missing son of the owner of Julian’s favorite Turkish sweet shop, the only one in France’s Dordogne region. Miffed, Mara occupies herself with the mystery of why Amélie Gaillard, their nearest neighbor, tumbled down a flight of stairs to her death and why her daughter Christine didn’t turn up at the funeral to help out dad, stricken with Parkinson’s. Mara’s sleuthing uncovers not only a family secret but the solution to a series of crimes known as the rhyming burglaries because of the taunting poems left behind. Meanwhile, Julian’s investigation reveals a misidentified corpse and an alliance between drug kingpin Ton-and-a-Half and an unscrupulous rival also seeking the elusive Lady’s Slipper.
Charming, with a few grisly bits. Anyone who has ever been intimidated into cleaning up before the cleaning help arrives will smile at the Mara-Julian housekeeping arrangements, and hobbyists will well understand Julian’s continuing passion for orchids (The Orchid Shroud, 2006, etc.).