Who better to investigate a 1930 murder than members of the local garden club?
Welcome to Darling, Ala., a sleepy town just starting to feel the effects of the Great Depression. Though a few of them are working ladies, the dozen members of the Darling Dahlias mostly represent the town’s upper class at a time when class still matters. When flashy young Bunny Scott is killed in a car wreck that turns out to be murder, club officers Lizzy Lacy, Ophelia Snow and Verna Tidwell put aside their latest project—restoring the extensive grounds of a little house the club has inherited—and use what they’ve picked up from detective novels and their ability to tap into town gossip to turn sleuths. The murder is not Darling’s only little disturbance. The bank is on the verge of collapse, and the owner blames a teller, a Dahlia member the club ladies are sure is innocent. A prison break has the town on edge, and the Cartwright ghost has been seen digging under one of the magnificent cucumber trees that adorn the clubhouse grounds. Although husbands, boyfriends and law-enforcement officials all tell them not to worry their pretty little heads, the Dahlias go to great lengths to solve the mysteries plaguing their beloved town.
The creator of herbalist China Bayles (Holly Blues, 2010, etc.) begins a new historical series equally full of intriguing characters, garden lore and recipes that adds nostalgia for the good old days, even if they weren’t so good after all.