by Heather Webber
First of all, what the heck is that picture on the front of the book supposed to represent? A topiary bunny with stomach trouble? It looks like an ad for Tums. I don’t get it.
I don’t need to be a cataloger in a public library (which I am), to know when there’s a subtitle like “a Nina Quinn mystery”, it means there are more of these books featuring this woman. Aarrghh! Nina and I didn’t get along very well from page one. Who chops up pictures of their philandering husband in a garbage disposal? What’s the matter with using the paper shredder? I guess that was supposed to set the tone for us that Nina is charmingly non-conformist and we need to cut her a lot of slack for her impetuous ways. I found her really annoying.
I also didn’t see much gardening going on except for a few references to Taken By Surprise, her so-called garden design company. And what about the hoes? I thought this story was about missing hoes. No, it was about a greedy developer trying to buy the farmland belonging to the family of Nina’s long-time friend Bridget, who has homicidal tendencies and fakes a pregnancy. Where’s the gardening in that? She does make a reference toward the end of the book about the landscaping in the greedy developer’s subdivision: “Trees dotted the sidewalks and canopied the street. The lawns were exceptionally well-kept, and flowers, everything from geraniums to petunias, were bright and cheery.” Whew, geraniums to petunias! That’s quite a range.
Coming to the end of a good book makes me sad. I was extremely happy to finish this book. To be fair, the author seems like a very nice woman; I went to her website to see what she is like. May is her favorite month, she likes to watch The Amazing Race, eats extra-butter popcorn, and her favorite day of the year is Thanksgiving. I like all that too, so I can relate. But I don’t relate to formulaic mystery writing. When we hear about the escaped pet snake in the first chapter, we know the snake will play a role in the ending. When we find out early on that homicidal Bridget is pregnant, or that stepson Riley (or is that the snake’s name - I can’t remember) has a fixation on guns, we know that will play a role in the ending. Nothing is allowed to happen in a formula-written book that does not have a bearing on the final denouement, and that’s what I hate about them. Nobody wanders off-plot and does or says anything that doesn’t pertain directly to the story. But hey, that’s just me. According to Amazon.com everyone loves this series and can’t wait for more. I’d rather sit on my back porch and stare off into the distance.
Oh, I didn't actually throw the book in the trash. It is a library book, after all!