A TV producer turned landscaper unearths trouble aplenty when she restores the gardens of a historic Connecticut home.
Sick of the mindless exposés demanded of her by the media conglomerate that gobbled up her boutique TV production company, Paula Holliday took her severance package to rustic Springfield, bought a bungalow and got in touch with her roots—literally. Now pH Factor, Gardening Solutions has just landed its first big job, all because Richard Stapley of the Springfield Historical Society thinks Paula might renovate the garden of Halcyon, home to the late, eccentric Peacock sisters, better (or at least cheaper) than Guido Chiaramonte, owner of Springfield’s biggest nursery. Of course the job has its challenges: the overgrown shrubbery, the decrepit greenhouse, the mummified infant corpse buried in the herb garden. The first two are relatively easy to solve for Mexican day-laborers Hugo Jurado and Felix Ontivares. (As a bonus, Felix is actually a wealthy politician in his own country, plus incredibly sexy to boot.) The last item, though, is a poser. Cute but pudgy detective Mike O’Malley wants Paula to forget about any amateur sleuthing. But her New York galpal Lucy Cavanaugh and her local buddy Babe Chinnery give Paula their full support, and soon she’s digging up more than just pansies.
Paula’s debut is better written than most two-suitor romances posing as mysteries, but the solution is more convoluted than a corn maze.