Image via WikipediaPushing Up Daisies:A Dirty Business Mystery
By Rosemary Harris
There are few cozy mystery series that I do not thoroughly enjoy. When you add a bit of humor, it is even more fun to read. If you agree with me, then I highly recommend you check out Rosemary Harris' Dirty Business Mysteries. I started right from the beginning with Pushing Up Daisies and quickly decided that I liked the main character, Paula Holliday, who owns her own small landscaping company.
I'll let you read how she left New York for a small town in Connecticut--and her best friend Lucy who is still there but visits often. Paula is still finding her place but was able to talk the president of the Historical Society into giving her the job of restoring Halcyon's Garden, which had just been endowed to them upon the death of the owner of a magnificent estate. Both of the last residents had been very old and had not been able to attend to the garden so extensive cleanup would be first, but there were garden rooms, a maze, a greenhouse and even a Herb Cottage that could once again be a beautiful center for the small town.
Winning the job was a tremendous opportunity for Paula, although it would not be a profitable one. Hopefully, it would lead to other jobs once the Garden would showcase her work. Not wanting to wait, she quickly drove out to the Garden and started to tour, making notes on what needed to be done, what Hugo, her assistant could do and what should be started first. By the time she had seen most of everything, she found herself in The White Garden and there she couldn't wait any longer, she started to dig! Was it fate that had her dig exactly there? For before very long, Paula had hit something hard. Discovering a box, she lifted it up and found a small object completely covered in cloths--but a tiny head dropped out and rolled across the garden, leaving Paula screaming and sitting on the ground.
Fortunately, there had been nobody to hear her; however, she knew what she had to do. Calling in the police and learning that the body had been a baby was "not" something that brightened her first day on a new job! One of the enjoyable relationships for cozy mysteries is the love-hate relationship between the amateur sleuth and the local police. So it wasn't surprising that Sgt. Michael O'Malley was prepared to either arrest her or send her packing away from the crime scene. But not before Paula got a few digs in about Springfield police comparing to that of Mayberry.
Everybody immediately assumed that the baby had belonged to one of the sisters who had owned the garden. So amidst the work taking place to restore the Halcyon's Garden, Paula began looking around and asking questions. When one of her competitor's is killed and her assistant Hugo is the prime suspect, Paula immediately goes into high gear to save her friend!
I had to laugh when Paula discovers that Anna, who is an unpaid office assistant, is also in love with Hugo! Kind of puts our amateur sleuth on the spot, doesn't it, missing what is there right under her nose...but it was fun to watch and even have the wedding as part of the book! I loved the characters and enjoy the relationships that are developing in the series...Now I'm on to second in the series, The Big Dirt Nap! But do start with Pushing Up Daisies--start at the beginning of this great series!
St. Martin's Minotaur
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