Best Laid Plants

I read the uncorrected proof copy of Marty Wingate‘s Best Laid Plants (#6 in the Potting Shed Mystery Series) and didn’t want it to end. This is another cozy mystery I couldn’t put down. Not only did Best Laid Plants have a good mystery, it had provided a treasure trove of both common plant names and their botanical names. While I usually highlight grammatical and punctuation errors in books I review, I found myself highlighting plant names and interesting tidbits about the plants.

Set in England, Pru Parke, gardener extraordinaire, is hired to refurbish the famous gardens at Glebe House in the Cotswolds. The elderly magistrate, Batsford Bede, is murdered, and soon almost everyone around him is a suspect. Someone wants to buy a large wildflower meadow and develop it with estate-sized homes. What the culprit doesn’t know is that there is a covenant on the land, and it can never be developed, no matter who owns it. Why would someone kill this old man who is near death already? It’s a great mystery with a lot of people looking guilty. I do wish the police had informed the person arrested about the covenant — the murder, the blackmail, the intrigue were all for nothing.

There were a lot of British English words used that this American English speaker did not understand. Some of them were self-explanatory in context, but some were not. Because Pru was a Texan living in England, she could have found a way to explain some the “English” words she used.

What Makes The Grumpy Book Reviewer grumpy? For an uncorrected proof copy, this is not bad at all. I’m impressed! The only complaints are:

  • using “spoonfuls” instead of “spoonful”, when “Pru watched as Coral dumped heaping spoonfuls…”;
  • using of “that” instead of “who” , when the narrator said, “Of the other two people that had lined up at the police…”;
  • and a split infinitive, when the narrator said, “…they would not be able to blithely leave behind a…”

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