I couldn't readily put my gloved hands on Carol's selection A Hoe Lot of Trouble but I was able to get another book by Heather Webber from my library. So I read Trouble in Spades. Nina Quinn owns a business called "Taken By Surprise Garden Design," where she specializes in garden designs called "Minis," or In-And-Out-In-A-Day Redo's (think of HGTV). In this instance, her sister Maria, is getting married and Nina is designing a Japanese-themed garden for her reception. Maria's fiance disappears, which halts work on the project. To fill the gap Nina accepts a "Mini" design for a local philanthropist. In the process her crew unearths a body where a pond is being installed. Another body turns up in her sister's pond, and as usual, Nina is involved in solving the crimes and finding Maria's missing fiance.
This book is full of colorful characters, from Tam (Nina's assistant), a new "macho" employee who is very suspicious, several funny neighbors, and a dysfunctional family (don't we all belong to one of those?). Not to mention Nina's hunky husband, Kevin, from whom she is separated. Her stepson Riley, lives with Nina, and she becomes involved in a "flirtation" with his school vice president. I'm sure we have not heard the last of this relationship, as the book leaves us anticipating the next development in Nina's love life. She has a difficult time (trying) to resist her estranged husband Kevin as he tries to lure her back.
There is non-stop action as Nina and her cousin (and best friend) Ana, work to solve not only the murders, but hunt for a pantie thief who is roving the neighborhood. Some of the funniest moments involve a small Chihuahua dog named Daisy, given to Nina by one of her employees. The little dog is not housebroken and is always running off and getting in trouble. Daisy eats some morning glory blooms and falls ill. Thus, the subject for the author's article at the end of the book. I had no idea sooooo many plants are poisonous to animals. Some of them are: holly, hydrangea (darn), oleander, azalea, foxglove, morning glory, bulbs such as amaryllis, lily of the valley, tulips, daffodils and day lilies. She offers suggestions for garden planning to keep animals away from these culprits. One of her suggestions is to sprinkle granular laundry detergent around the plants. That's one I haven't hear of!
I plan to read some of Heather Webber's other Nina Quinn series, as they make a nice break while sitting in the shade with a glass of tea on a hot August day. I love mysteries and I love gardening and I love animals. It doesn't get any better than than!