Monday, September 15, 2014

Bloom and Doom

Author:  Beverly Allen
Genre:  Mystery

Two Stars
As the co-owner of the Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be.  Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it's nothing compared to the groom turning up dead.
A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets-many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower-Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after.  In fact, every couple she's worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss.  But her perfect record is about to be broken,
Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she's hired Audrey to design the bouquet.  But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey's mind), the groom is found dead-sprinkled with bits of a bouquet.  This is bad for business-not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect.  So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won't be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies...
Okay, so the blurb pretty much tells you what the book is about.  But there were so many things wrong with it that I had a hard time finding what was right.  Please don't believe I am attacking the author at all - I would never do that and I am sure Ms. Allen tried really hard to make this a good book.  But the fact is: it isn't. 
As stated above, Audrey has a floral shop that is unique in the fact that every one of the couples she's done bouquets for are still married.  And since she's being interviewed because of this fact, I tend to wonder if she is the only floral shop in town.  Why, you ask?  Because why would anyone go anywhere else?  Everyone who gets married wants their marriage to stick, so of course, knowing this fact - and if the television crew knows it, others must too - no one would go anywhere else.  Not to mention the fact that after the piece airs, all the other floral shops will be put out of business, because weddings are a huge market, and who wants their flowers done if there's a chance the marriage might go sour someday?  Just a thought...
So Jenny is engaged to Derek, but doesn't want to be.  Her mother wants her to be, so she does (spineless girl, it's not her mother who will have to live with the jerk).  Anyway, she comes to Audrey and somehow convinces Audrey to allow Jenny to work for her, so Audrey gives her some supplies and sends her home to practice.  Then, when Derek is found dead, killed with the 'practice knife' that Audrey gave Jenny, Jenny is immediately suspect.  (Although I couldn't really think that if she was intending to marry a rich, handsome man, that killing him would be a viable alternative unless she was already in the will, but hey, just a thought...)
So the police go to Audrey's shop and take ALL OF HER TOOLS!  They have the murder weapon, but they feel the need to confiscate EVERY SINGLE TOOL she has!  This effectively puts her out of business, since she can't work without tools.  I mean, c'mon!  If you were a carpenter, and they already HAD the murder weapon, which might have been a hammer, WHY would the police take ALL of your tools?  How could you work without them?  So you have to lose business even if they know you probably didn't do anything?  Just a thought...
Plus, as if that isn't bad enough, a delivery guy comes to Audrey's the next day and a cop THROWS HIM UP AGAINST THE WALL and calls him a PERP!  Again, c'mon!  Really?  What kind of cop would just grab someone and throw them up against the wall without finding out what they were doing there?  Was he afraid the guy was going to attack him with flowers?  Just a thought...
Plus, later on, Audrey remarks that there are no blue roses, and that one she sees must be dyed.  Hmmm...I have blue roses in my yard, and I can tell you, they are hybrid, but not dyed.  Unless some garden gnome is going out there in the middle of the night and using a paintbrush or something.  So yes, there are blue roses. 
The most annoying trait she has is telling us the meaning of every single flower she comes across.  Do people really care about this?  I sure don't.  I look for beauty, color, scent.  I'm not picking out flowers because of hidden meanings.  I'm choosing them because they're attractive to me, and that's what counts in the long run.
At the end, you can see that I've had a few thoughts or two.  I really wish I could give this book a better rating, but it would be unfair to both the reader and the author.  Perhaps in the next book in the series Audrey won't go on spouting nonsense about flower meanings, and the police won't do unbelievable things.  I'm hoping the next book will improve.

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