Monday, August 10, 2015

Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Potting Shed Mystery Book 3)

Author:  Marty Wingate
Genre:  Mystery

Alibi Publishing
276 Pages
$2.99 Kindle
August 4, 2015

Five Stars

After her romantic idyll with the debonair Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse culminates in a marriage proposal, Pru Parke sets about arranging their nuptials while diving into a short-term gig at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  At hand is the authentication of a journal purportedly penned by eighteenth-century botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies.  Compared to the chaos of wedding planning, studying the journal is an agreeable task...that is, until a search for a missing cat leads to the discovery of a dead body:  One of Pru's colleagues has been conked on the head with a rock and dumped from a bridge into the water of Leith.

Pru can't help wondering if the murder has something to do with the Menzies diary.  Is the killer covering up a forgery?  Among the police's many suspects are a fallen aristocrat turned furniture maker, Pru's overly solicitous assistant, even Pru herself.  Now, in the midst of sheer torture by the likes of flamboyant wedding dress designers and eccentric church organists, Pru must also uncover the work of a sly murderer-unless this bride wants to walk down the aisle in handcuffs.


Pru Parke has just finished her latest undertaking restoring a garden to glory and is searching for a new task.  At last she finds one she knows she wants:  discovering if a journal by the eighteenth-century botanist Archibald Menzies is real or a forgery.  But before she can start, her paramour Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse pops the all-important question and asks her to marry him.  It is decided that they will marry the moment her job ends, which is three months from now.  So Pru must set herself to work and attempt to plan a wedding at the same time.

Luckily, her friend Jo is insisting on helping her - providing her wedding gown and the minister to marry her; but Pru and Christopher will have to locate the venue, which shouldn't be too hard a task - her job is in Scotland, and it happens that so is the minister, Jo's estranged husband Alan.

But not so luckily, Pru has a nemesis at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh - and he has been found murdered shortly after having an argument with Pru, one of many they have had regarding her position and the journal.

When she is called in for questioning she strikes up a sort-of friendship with one of the officers, Tamsin Duncan, who is also getting married in a few months.  Soon Pru discovers that her position may not have been offered because of her work recently done, but for another reason entirely different, and she vows to find out the truth and why.

As if this isn't enough, an ex-boyfriend from the States arrives and she finds out he will also be working at the RBG, although not along side her, which is a relief.

I really enjoyed this latest entry into the Potting Shed mysteries.  As always, Ms. Wingate's mysteries are delightful to read.  Yes, I pretty much figured out the killer early on in the book.  But it really doesn't matter - the journey to the end when Pru figures it out is all that's important.  And some of the side trips along the way are worth it.  We get to meet Alistair Campbell, who hired Pru but spends his days attempting to avoid her and her questions; the mysterious Murdo, who is a jack-of-all-trades around the garden and writes notes in a little black book; Mrs. Murchie, Pru's neighbor who has secrets of her own; Tamsin, of course, and others who have their own interesting stories to tell.

I like the fact that Pru is an intelligent woman, not blundering into places she shouldn't be and taking unnecessary chances.  I also like the fact that she's not twenty-something but has come to England from Texas, found a new love and decided to stay and make it her home.

So in the end like Pru herself, I found the destination to be just as satisfying as the journey itself.  Highly recommended.

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