Monday, August 27, 2007

GB Book Club Aug/Sept

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!


Carol said...

Bev... thanks for posting a review and participating in the Garden Bloggers' Book Club. Since you are the first to post for Aug-Sept, you'll be the first review listed on the "virtual meeting" post. I'm about half way through the "Hoe" mystery!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

LostRoses said...

Oh, it's that time already, Bev? I wish I'd chosen the same book you did as I sure wasn't thrilled with the "hoe" one. Now I have to find my review which I wrote up before I returned the book to the library! You early-bird, you!

Bev said...

Carol, you're welcome! Thought I'd better go ahead and post it before I forgot it (doesn't take me long any more).

Lost Roses - Yes, I am waaay early to this party (see message to Carol above). I have waiting for me at the library another of Heather's books, so I may review that one also by end of Sept. Actually, the complaint I would voice about the book is that there are soooooo many characters. But then, there seems to be that case in most mysteries. They want to keep us guessing?

Annie in Austin said...

I didn't get around to reading one yet, Bev, but if I can just remember the name Webber there's a chance it will happen!

How can there be too many characters? I love it when a mystery starts out with a two-page list of characters like the older Agatha Christies ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

bill said...

this one seemed to have more to do with landscaping and plants than the "hoe" book.

The "hoe" book also had some scenes involving panties and boxer shorts - could this be a recurring them in the author's work?

farmingfriends said...

i read a Hoe Lot Of Trouble and enjoyed it and thought I would read the others and now that I have read your review I am definately going to read this next book. I can't wait.
Sara from farmingfriends

Bev said...

Annie - Good for you! You sound like a more diligent mystery reader than I am. Or... maybe it's just senility creeping in for me? Just can't remember that many characters.

Bill - Sounds like it sure could be!

Farmingfriends - Hope you like it.