wicked plants.JPGGardening is a deceptively gentle pursuit: we ruthlessly weed out unwanted invaders, deadhead with gusto, and wield the glistening blades of our pruners without remorse. If cold-blooded murder doesn’t fit with your image of rose-covered arbors, think again. Who else can mourn the loss of a beloved plant while investigating ways to get rid of moles and other pests with bloodthirsty enthusiasm? Like turning over a rock, gardening has a dark side, too. If you doubt that, just check out Wicked Plants or The Poison Diaries.

 

Thorns and roses. Perfumes and poisons. Gardens and graves. The very serenity of a garden can conjure up sharply contrasting images. There is a literary tradition of horticulture and homicide, from Sergeant Cuff’s obsession with roses in Wilkie Collins’ 1868 mystery The Moonstone to Nero Wolfe’s passion for orchids to Hercule Poirot who decides to retire and grow vegetable marrows at one point in his career. 

 

After battling slugs and beetles, rock-hard clay, or persistent weeds, many poison diaries.JPGgardeners take vicarious pleasure reading about detectives who bring order to chaos and justice to evil-doers aided by a flair for the floriferous. Today our bookstores and libraries are filled with mystery books with a botanical bite.

 

There are so many garden-related mysteries in print, it will take more than one post to share them with you. Here are a few authors and their books to get you started along with reviews from BN.com:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Rosemary Harris

Pushing up Daisies

 

daisies.JPGMeet Paula Holliday, a transplanted media exec who trades her stilettos for garden clogs when she makes the move from the big city to the suburbs to start a gardening business. Paula can handle deer, slugs, and the occasional human pest—but she’s not prepared for the mummified body she finds while restoring the gardens at Halcyon, a local landmark.


Casual snooping turns serious when a body is impaled on a garden tool and one of Paula’s friends is arrested for the crime. Aided by the still-hot aging rocker who owns the neighborhood greasy spoon, a wise-cracking former colleague, and a sexy Mexican laborer with a few secrets of his own, Paula digs for the truth and unearths more dirty business the town has kept buried for years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Susan Wittig Albert

Thyme of Death (China Bayless Series #1)


thyme.jpgNominated for both an Agatha and an Anthony Award, Susan Wittig Albert's novels featuring ex-lawyer and herb-shop proprietor China Bayles have won acclaim for their rich characterization and witty, suspenseful stories of crime and passion in small-town Texas. 

In her first mystery, China's friend Jo dies of an apparent suicide. China searches behind the quaint façade of Pecan Springs and takes a suspicious look at everyone. Though she finds lots of friendly faces, China is sure that behind one of them hides the heart of a killer.

 

 

 

 

 

3: Joyce and Jim Lavene


pretty poison.jpgIt's another busy fall day for Peggy. A quick café lecture on African violets is followed by a minor bike accident involving a good-looking Saturn driver. Upon returning to her shop, Peggy discovers one of the wealthiest men in town—and one of the biggest philanderers—sprawled face- down across one of her seasonal displays, apparently beaten to death with a garden shovel. 

When the cops pin the murder on a local homeless man, Peggy must rake through evidence and dig up secrets to root out the real killer.When the cops pin the murder on a local homeless man, Peggy must rake through evidence and dig up secrets to root out the real killer.

 

Are you a garden lover who enjoys mysteries? A mystery lover who dabbles in gardening? Do you think there is something inherently bloodthirsty about gardening that makes the two go together so often? If you have any favorite garden-related mysteries, I'd love to here them! Also, check out our new mystery blog: Ransom Notes

 

 

Comments
by Author JacquelineSeewald on ‎11-03-2009 07:38 PM

Thank you for sharing these garden related mysteries. Each one obviously represents an enjoyable reading experience.

 

Jacqueline Seewald

THE DROWNING POOL, Five Star/Gale 2009

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎11-03-2009 08:09 PM

Hi Jacqueline -- I'm always looking for more, so if you know of any good garden mysteries, let me know!

by JanetRudolph on ‎11-04-2009 11:01 AM

Mystery Readers Journal has had two issues on Gardening Mysteries. The last one was in 2004. Here's a link to the Table of Contents. http://www.mysteryreaders.org/Issues/gardening.html Many Author! author! essays by mystery writers who focus on gardens in their mysteries.

 

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎11-04-2009 11:37 AM
About Garden Variety: The BN Gardening Blog
Welcome to Garden Variety, a common ground for gardening enthusiasts in the B&N community. Each day, our resident experts, guest bloggers, and B&N staff produce articles on evergreen topics and growing trends in the realm of landscaping. From seasonal plants and edible gardens to book suggestions and landscape innovations, this is the place where ideas flourish.

Advertisement

Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.