Reading murder mysteries is one of my favorite pastimes. Immediately after completing one, I go on to the next. I am never without a stack of books next to my bed that are just waiting for me to dig into. Cozy mysteries are relatively short, usually around two hundred pages. Most cozy mystery authors have a central theme to their series of books. It is usually the main character’s profession or passion. The added bonus to cozy mysteries is that they frequently contain tips or advice pertaining to that book’s theme. If you love gardening and enjoy murder mysteries, look for these authors the next time you are browsing in the library or bookstore.
Susan Wittig Albert. Susan Wittig Albert’s amateur sleuth, China Bayles, is an herbalist who turned her back on her career as a high profile criminal attorney in Houston to own and run a small town herb shop. Each book in the series is centered around one specific herb. Infused with quirky characters and sly wit, her books are also very informative for those interested in the growth and use of herbs. Some titles to look for are: Thyme of Death, Witches Bane, Lavender Lies and Love Lies Bleeding. If herb gardening piques your interest, pick up a Susan Wittig Albert book to enjoy a fun mystery and learn a thing or two about herbs.
Ann Ripley. Ann Ripley’s main character is Louise Eldridge. Louise is the host of a local television gardening show called “Gardening With Nature” where she provides her audience with gardening tips and advice. Through her very satisfying career, Louise manages to stumble across dead bodies here and there. Always catching the killer, much to the chagrin of the police, she is a witty and entertaining character. Several Ann Ripley titles featuring Louise Eldridge are: Mulch, Death Of A Garden Pest, Summer Garden Murder and Death In The Orchid Garden.
Joyce And Jim Laverne. This husband and wife writing duo craft their cozy gardening mysteries around a character named Peggy Lee. Peggy Lee is a middle aged widow who owns a garden shop called The Potting Shed. Peggy spends her time running her garden shop and lecturing at local universities sharing her gardening expertise. Despite her hectic life, Peggy Lee still manages to catch the killer every time. These books are chock full of gardening ideas and interesting information. Two titles I highly recommend are: Poisoned Petals and Pretty Poison.
Mary Freeman. Mary Freeman’s character, Rachel O’ Connor is the owner of a landscaping company. Rachel is bright and savvy in business and also quite adept at solving the local murder mysteries. Titles in Mary Freeman’s gardening mystery series include: Bleeding Heart, Garden View and Deadly Nightshade.
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a cozy gardening mystery. It will pleasantly pass the hours by the pool or on the beach and you will pick up some gardening tips to use in your own garden!