Genre: cozy mystery
Meet Nina Quinn, garden landscaper extraordinaire and very amateur sleuth, in this charming cosy series that is perfect for fans of Carolyn Hart.
Nina Quinn has had enough of her cheating cop husband. His affair with his partner has driven her close to the edge--and him out of their home. Nina, the owner of Taken By Surprise, a landscaping business that specializes in surprise garden makeovers, already has too much on her plate--her delinquent stepson has let his pet snake loose in the house, and her nosy mother won't stop pestering her to get her bridesmaid's dress fitted for her sister's upcoming nuptials. But it's the strange disappearance of gardening tools--including a very expensive set of hoes--that really throws a wrench in things. And when she gets a call that her oldest friend's father-in-law, a beloved old man who introduced her to landscaping, has been murdered, Nina knows that it's time to start digging for clues to the frustrating, mysterious, and downright evil things that have disturbed her peaceful Ohio hometown.
I love all of Heather Webber/Heather Blake’s cozy series I have read so far, so it was high time I picked up the first book in the first series. As it is out of print, I had to settle for the ebook though.
Nina Quinn has a very successful landscaping business and she loves her work. But her private life is going downhill, fast. She just discovered her police detective husband has been cheating on her with his new partner, and she has kicked him out of the house. Her 15 year old stepson regards her as the evil stepmother, and is giving her a really hard time. His schoolwork is going from bad to worse, and he is skipping classes and hanging with the wrong crowd. Her ex doesn’t think it bad just yet, and refuses to step in. And now his pet snake is loose in the house, and Nina is terrified of snakes.
And then there is her nosy older neighbour, who loves to poke his nose in his neighbours affairs. Why does he suddenly need her help with his garden?
Then her best friend Bridget wants to meet with her, so she can pour out her heart. Bad things are happening at her in-laws, and her husband doesn’t want to involve the police. Nina is a very curious young woman, and of course she promises to meet with her for lunch. She also has to investigate the theft of tools at her own business, and as she has the habit of employing people with a shady past, there are enough potential bad guys to investigate.
Bridget tells a horrible story though. Apparently her father in law did not die of natural causes because he had cancer in an advanced state, but he was murdered. And someone is harassing them as they want to buy the house and land that has been in the family for generations. And her in-laws keep refusing to sell. The sheep were poisoned, things get destroyed, and now their dog has been shot. Even the local governor wants them to sell, as he will benefit from the new highway through the property. Nina promises to look into things, with all her contacts, she is bound to find some leads.
Bridget’s family is not happy with this, and want her to stop nosing around at once. But Nina loved her old man, he gave her her love of gardening, and she owes it to him to find out the truth. And of course, this way she can one-up her husband …
I really enjoyed this first book in the series. Nina truly is a nosy woman, but her heart is in the right place. She does her best for her stepson, even goes to early morning detention with him to ensure his presence. She gives people a second chance by employing them, and they all appreciate her for it. Nina is a good friend, and only 29. I don’t think she will get back with her husband Kevin though, as he says himself, he is an honourable cop, but a lousy husband. What kind of father he really is, remains to be seen.
The mystery was a good one, and it truly shocked me. I did not see that coming, at all. I am glad I have some of the rest of the series on my shelves already and hope to read them soon.
The paper book is sadly out of print, but you can buy the ebook
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian