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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Book Review: The Bluebonnet Betrayal, A Potting Shed Mystery by Marty Wingate

This is an easy, delightful cozy mystery with gardening interests and lovely warmth – other than the death of course.
The Bluebonnet Betrayal, A Potting Shed Mystery
by Marty Wingate
File Size: 2129 KB
Print Length: 294 pages
Publisher: Alibi (August 2, 2016)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Bestselling author Marty Wingate “plants clever clues with a dash of romantic spice,” raves Mary Daheim. Now Wingate’s inimitable gardening heroine, Pru Parke, is importing a precious bloom from Texas—and she won’t let a vicious murder stop her.
Pru’s life in England is coming full circle. A Texas transplant, she’s married to the love of her life, thriving in the plum gardening position she shares with her long-lost brother, and prepping a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit featuring the beloved bluebonnets of the Texas hill country. Technically, Twyla Woodford, the president of a gardening club in the Lone Star State, is in charge of the London event, but Pru seems to be the one getting her hands dirty. When they finally do meet, Pru senses a kindred spirit—until Twyla turns up dead.
Although Twyla’s body was half buried under a wall in their display, Pru remains determined to mount a spectacular show. Twyla would have insisted. So Pru recruits her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, to go undercover and do a bit of unofficial digging into Twyla’s final hours. If Pru has anything

Pru Parke is a ‘transplanted’ Texan living and gardening in England where she now lives with her new husband. Pru and her newly found brother are working to restore the gardens on a country estate. Pru has been asked by a Texan gardening ‘friend’, Twyla Woodford, to help set up a Texas exhibit for the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London.

Pru arrives at the exhibit site and begins to meet the various crew: an aloof ‘designer’, Roddy; a competent, if angry, crew boss, Chiv, and his jealous partner, Iris; a mostly absent, wealthy sponsor, Damien; and a young, enthusiastic researcher, Forde, who is convinced the sponsor will buy his special biofuel product. Pru picks up on some tension among these crew members even before she meets the Texas garden society ladies. Pru picks up five of the Texas ladies at the airport only to learn that their fearless leader, Twyla, has been delayed.

Twyla finally arrives and she and Pru hit it off right away. Twyla has some concerns that she has to resolve although she doesn’t fully explain the problems to Pru. This gives Pru fuel for the mystery when Twyla is discovered murdered the next morning. The Chief Inspector immediately warns Pru to keep her nose out of the investigation and to keep her husband, Chris, the former chief inspector who retired and now serves as consultant, out of the way too.

This of course won’t work for Pru who is determined to find Twyla’s killer while she also continues preparing for the exhibit. Pru drags Chris onto the crew to investigate under cover. As they make their inquiries, Pru learns that all four men, and several of the ladies, had relationships with Twyla that might provide a motive for the killing. Now they just have to narrow the field of suspects without getting in the line of fire.

Although there initially seemed to be quite a lot of characters and suspects, Ms. Wingate does a wonderful job of tying all the details together while hiding the true killer until an exciting confrontation at the end. The story brims with gardening background that I found interesting and I loved the gentle humor. Each chapter begins with a tidbit from the fictional ARGS (Austin Rock Garden Society) news or minutes. There is a sweet romantic vibe between Pru and Chris that adds to the story.

There is a rich warmth and easy style (yes, cozy) to the writing which makes this enjoyable entertainment. This is the second Potting Shed Mystery that I have read by Ms. Wingate and I highly recommend this author and series to readers who like cozy mysteries.

I received this title through NetGalley for an honest review. It qualifies for my NetGalley Challenge.


  1. Sounds like a cute little mystery. I like alternating between thrillers and cozy mysteries -- there's something really satisfying about reading a mystery that isn't too dark or hardcore. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great review. I have the first one from this series on hold from my local library. I love reading cozy mysteries, so I am looking forward to reading this series. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this story and author.


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